Nairobi demolitions: Kenyans laud excavators dubbed ‘green mamba’


Visa Oshwal Centre
Visa Oshwal Centre. Photo/KIMANI MBUGUA

In Summary

  • 4000 buildings are being targeted in the ongoing demolitions in Nairobi.
  • All the operators of the green excavators are professionals trained by the NYS.
  • Explosives may also be used in demolition exercises, but only if the targeted building is not within close range to other unaffected ones.

The green excavators have now become a symbol of the recent Nairobi demolitions.

In just three days, buildings worth billions of shillings that were constructed on riparian land were brought down.

The green excavator that undertakes the demolitions is owned by the National Youth Service (NYS) and manufactured by Sany, a Chinese comany.

However, what people are calling the “green mamba” or “Sany the exterminator” is no ordinary excavator.

It has an operational weight of up to 21.5 tonnes with its boom, dipper and stick.

Engineers say that the smaller models have 215-metric horsepower while the larger ones have 335 horsepower.

This means that in 1 second, the larger model can lift weights of up to 25 tonnes by 1 metre.

4000 buildings are being targeted in the ongoing Nairobi demolitions and it is expected that they will all be brought down within the next two months.

All the operators are professionals trained by the NYS; to qualify,one has to go through three different grades of planned operations.

Explosives may also be used in demolition exercises, but only if the building targeted is not close to other unaffected ones.

The excavators are suitable for bringing down buildings that only have four floors.

Any additional floor must first be brought down manually before the excavators move in, an exercise that is as costly and dangerous.

This week, the Nairobi demolitions began with Java House and Shell Petrol Station in Kileleshwa; South End Mall and Ukay Centre.

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