Lands Ministry eases Tatu City, Kiambu County Gov’t row


Lands Ministry eases Tatu City, Kiambu County Gov't row

In Summary

  • The grant of the special planning area status - which is defined as an area cutting across the boundaries of two or more authorities with significant development challenges - effectively corrects the outstanding dispute which has so far threatened the fruition of the multi-billion shillings development.

The Lands and Physical Planning Ministry has declared the geographical area under Tatu City as a special planning area putting brakes on the recent row pitting the mega-city developer and county of Kiambu.

The grant of the special planning area status – which is defined as an area cutting across the boundaries of two or more authorities with significant development challenges – effectively corrects the outstanding dispute which has so far threatened the fruition of the multi-billion shillings development.

“The purpose of this declaration is to facilitate preparation of a harmonized comprehensive Local Physical Development Plan (LPDP) which will provide the framework for the physical development and management of the area and guide the development control processes,” noted the National Director of Physical Planning Augustine Masinde in a directive on May 30, 2019.

The directive thereby relinquishes the control of the development back to the State, hence limiting Kiambu County government powers prescribed in the Physical Planning Act of 1996; including the consideration and approval of all development applications and the formulation of by-laws to regulate zoning in respect to the use and density of developments.

Tatu City developer Rendeavour has until now been locked in a sheer battle with the Ferdinand Waititu-led local government unit with running battles ending up in legal suits and counter accusations.

Rendeavour, for instance, sued the county in a joint suit with Kofinaf Limited over what they termed as blackmail with the county allegedly delaying the receipt of building approvals for the mega-city over discontent from the developer’s failure to heed to the county’s request for the allocation of a 10 percent share of land for public use.

While the county backed the request with provisions under the Physical Planning Act, Tatu has insisted on the project’s classification outside the scope of the law highlighting on the considerable developments made prior to the incorporation of the devolved system of government.

“We will not surrender 10 percent of our land to the County Government, there is no legal requirement to surrender that land to the County Government. We will comply with all law we have in our plan… we have approval for 30 percent of green land on Tatu City,” said Rendeavour Kenya Country Head Nick Langford in an earlier interview with Citizen Digital.

The Environment and Land Court in Thika had ruled in favor of the developer in April only to end in the county government retaliating with the alleged sabotage of the processing of key approvals related to the mixed-development undertaking.

Rendeavour set foot in Kiambu in 2008 taking up space in the formerly Belgian-owned rubber and coffee company- Socfinaf.

The development sits in line with the Nairobi Metro 2030 Strategy that is aimed at the decentralization of the urban environment to ease the pressure on Nairobi.

The undertaking sits on a 5,000 acre piece of land which, when fully developed, was to incorporate homes, schools, office blocks, manufacturing areas and sports & entertainment complexes.

Rendeavour has since moved to replicate the Tatu concept across the continent to ground-break homogeneous developments in Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Story By Kepha Muiruri
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