Written by West Fm
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The collapse of a three storey building under construction next to Bungoma Boys High School in Bungoma Town comes hot on the heels of the collapse of another building under construction in Luanda Market last year. In both instances human lives were needlessly lost and work men injured.
The Bungoma Municipal Council is the one mandated in law to approve all buildings that are erected within its jurisdiction and it is further to superintend those who get approvals for construction of buildings to comply with the professional benchmarks that inform the erection of such approved buildings.
There is no doubt that all Local Authorities - Town Councils Municipal Councils, County Councils in Western Province and North Rift have miserably failed in the discharge of their statutory obligations to ensure that all buildings erected in their jurisdictions adhere to the established building codes of the country. The Local Authorities seem only eager to collect the approval charges paid by those who wish to build within their jurisdictions but they have no idea, no capacity, no competences to supervise all those whose buildings plans they approve in the actual construction. The greater duty on the Local Authorities is to scrupulously supervise all the constructions of buildings they approve in their localities and ensure that they are constructed professionally and under the supervision of those professionals quoted in the building plans rather than to sleep and let developers put names of architects, engineers, quantity surveyors etc on the building plans submitted for approval and yet once the actual construction starts those professionals are nowhere and the developers themselves convert into overseeing all the technical work even where they have no skills or competencies.
West fm states that the local authorities in Western Province and North Rift must recruit into their staff portfolios, the right professionals with competencies to vet and approve all buildings plans submitted to the councils and equally once they approve those plans to rigorously supervise their construction to comply with the building code of the nation and international best practices.
The Counties of the region cannot be ready for take off if they have no competent, functional professionals to oversee the sound construction of all structures within their jurisdiction. It is tragic that notwithstanding the region having since independence produced all cadres of professionals the Towns, Municipal Councils and County Councils of the region are not staffed by competent and skillful professional experts like architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and others to ensure only sound structures are erected in our Towns and Rural Areas. The sad scenario where Central Government Engineers and Architects who are overworked and understaffed cannot be looked upon to again do the professional work of Local Authorities. These Central Government technocrats are in any even notoriously corrupt and that is why Central Government budgeted infrastructure like roads are in shambles.
The challenge is where are the elected Councilors, the Councils, Technical staff as structures in the region under construction keep collapsing and tumbling down and killing or maiming those who work on those sites. And what assurance can we have that even those multi storied buildings that dote the landscape are safe and secure? The region must embrace professionalism, standards and ethics in the construction of buildings, roads, and other infrastructure if it has to move forward as the short-cuts of shoddy work and unethical standards in the management of public affairs can only retard the region in the long run.
Western Province and North Rift is ripe to infuse in the ranks of those who seek elected offices at the County Level men and women from all professional callings and with the highest integrity and competences if it is to join the league of those Counties on track with the ideals of Vision 2030. That will be the sure answer to the mediocrity, incompetence, decay that is suffocating the Local Authorities of the region.
And let the Police who investigate the happenings like the collapse of the building at Bungoma recently and that in Luanda last year come clean and prosecute those who have broken the law so that the region does not end up with the tragedies where young men and women in dire need of employment get killed and maimed in poorly and unprofessionally supervised construction sites. There is one certainty that in all those crumbling buildings under construction the law has been broken and the Police by not prosecuting those law breakers become accomplices of impunity and corruption. The question of accountability and transparency dictates that if the law enforcement agencies are working in the region then those criminally culpable for the collapsing buildings under construction killing and maiming people ought to have been promptly arraigned in court for their crimes.
West fm Editorial©2012
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