Ruto’s Desire to Move Moi Airbase from Eastleigh Demonstrates his Comfort at the Nation’s Helm

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News that President Ruto has vacated the 12-story rule that applied to Eastleigh on account of the Moi Airbase sitting idly there is welcome.

Henceforth developers can construct buildings 30 storeys high.

Like many of President Ruto’s initiatives, this too is being opposed with usual critics claiming he wants to grab the land – which may very well be the case.

Yet, President Ruto, in revoking the 12-storey rule, is right.

What’s the point of Moi Airbase sitting in an expansive civilian residential land when it can be moved to Nanyuki or even Kabuoch Konyango and the city expanded to accommodate millions of its now suffering dwellers?

President Ruto’s legacy could very well be in housing. If he manages to modernize national housing, with new laws, regulations, and policies, his 10 years at the top may just be remembered for that.

Ruto’s desire to move Moi Airbase from Eastleigh also demonstrates his comfort at the nation’s helm.

He sees no threats, for which the military should still be stationed so close by – if anything, DoD and Langata barracks can still provide quick-fire response should Kalonzo try a coup when Baba has left for AU.

A story is told of Stanley Githunguri’s fight with Nairobi City Council to build Lilian Towers (opposite Central Police Station). It took President Jomo Kenyatta’s fiat to give him the green light. The by-laws then had capped how tall a building could be adjacent to the police station.

Many of the laws on building heights served idiotic purposes. In the so-called high-end residential areas of Kilimani, Kileleshwa, and Lavington, the white elite classes wanted to maintain their exclusivity. When Africans moved into those neighborhoods, they chose to inherit those very attitudes.

Till this hour, residential associations there are fighting to maintain the laws that made those areas exclusive, to the disadvantage of an expanding African middle class in need of decent housing.

In creative destruction, Schumpter argues that “long-standing arrangements and assumptions must be destroyed to free up resources and energy to be deployed for innovation….in a process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one”.

Incessant destruction of old norms will continue to upset traditionalists and status quo adherents unprepared to sieze the moment.

If Eastliegh can only expand upwards, then Eastliegh must expand upwards.

In that spirit, I urge Hon. Jalang’o of Langata to push for the relocation of both Nairobi West and Langata Women Prisons to Kajiado Town (a dead town).

The new space created can then be used to build new, modern, massive residential skyscrapers to house Langata’s next batch of middle-class residents.

Nairobi cannot remain with the same designs when the population is increasing.

Those who see evil in all initiatives of the government are the usual denialists who still cannot believe Ruto won the election and is running this place.

Dikembe Disembe is a political researcher and writer

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