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Legal Challenge to Nairobi Governor’s Building Approval Freeze


In a bold legal move, a Nairobi lawyer has petitioned for the revocation of Governor Johnson Sakaja’s recent order to halt all building development approvals in the city. The order, which was issued last month, has been met with resistance from stakeholders within the construction industry.

Governor Sakaja’s directive put an immediate stop to the issuance of new building approvals, citing the need for a comprehensive review of existing permits. “All building development approvals have been halted for now until we can review all those that have been issued and are continuing in the city,” stated Sakaja.

Victor Odhiambo, the lawyer leading the charge, argues that the governor’s undated notice is neither supported by statute nor accompanied by a gazette notice, rendering it unconstitutional. Odhiambo’s appeal, filed before the County Physical and Land Use Planning Liaison Committee (PLUPLC), challenges the legality of the governor’s unilateral decision.The petition accuses Governor Sakaja of violating the right to fair administrative action, as outlined in the Fair Administrative Action Act. Odhiambo contends that the decision to halt approvals was made without public participation, a requirement for such significant policy changes.

Odhiambo’s appeal emphasizes the importance of adhering to established planning and approval regulations, suggesting that the blanket stoppage of new planning approvals does not serve the greater public good. He insists that compliance issues should be addressed continuously rather than through the governor’s fiat.

The PLUPLC has responded to the petition by inviting Odhiambo to a meeting scheduled for May 28, 2024, at City Hall. This meeting is expected to address the concerns raised and explore possible resolutions.The Architectural Association of Kenya and the National Construction Authority, listed as interested parties in the appeal, are closely monitoring the situation. The construction industry is keenly awaiting the outcome of the meeting, which could have far-reaching implications for development in Nairobi.

The controversy surrounding Governor Sakaja’s order reflects the tension between regulatory oversight and the construction industry’s need for predictability. As the legal challenge progresses, all eyes are on the PLUPLC’s upcoming deliberations and the potential impact on Nairobi’s urban development landscape.


Source: Conversation with Copilot, 25/05/2024

(1) Lawyer wants Sakaja order stopping building approvals revoked – The Star. https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2024-05-25-lawyer-wants-sakaja-order-stopping-building-approvals-revoked/.

(2) Lawyer Petitions Over Sakaja Move to Stop Approval of Construction of …. https://kahawatungu.com/lawyer-petitions-over-sakaja-move-to-stop-approval-of-construction-of-buildings-in-city/.

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