Why President Ruto order is rattling developers in Eastleigh

Abdirahman Mohamed Abdi

Property Developers Welfare Society of Nairobi Secretary- General Abdi Dahir (left) and chairman Abdirahman Mohamed Abdi address journalists at Nomad Hotel in Nairobi on June 10,2024.

What you need to know:

  • President Ruto stated that he intends to ensure that Eastleigh maintains its prime state.
  • The high ground around the airbase poses a safety risk not only to the airbase but also to the safe landing of flights.

Recent remarks by President William Ruto during the 60th-anniversary celebrations of the Kenya Air Force at Moi Air Base regarding building heights around the base have sparked fear among developers in Nairobi.

While the President stated that he intends to ensure that the facility maintains its prime state, developers believe they stand to lose if the county moves in to enforce compliance.

According to the President, the government will work with the Nairobi County government to ensure that the facility is protected by strictly enforcing the height of buildings around the air base.

“We will work with Nairobi City County to make sure that all developers keep to the standards that we have agreed with the Kenya Air Force and with the Kenya Defence Forces,” Dr Ruto said during the event.

Addressing the media in Eastleigh on Monday, June 10, the Property Developers Welfare Society of Nairobi said it fully followed the law.

Illegally built heights

According to the society's chairman, Mr Abdirahman Mohamed Abdi, the government should ensure that buildings legally approved by the county government are not affected should demolition become the last resort for illegally built heights.

“Developers are building in accordance with approvals that are granted by City County. What we are not for is that today an approval is given and tomorrow you get problems with the same approvals that have been given,” Mr Abdi said.

He said that it will be a big loss to developers who were given the green light by the county to develop tall buildings in the area if the law is revised.

“What we are against is whereby today an approval of a certain height, say 20, 18 or 23 and we will be having problems with approvals that we have paid for which have been granted. That is our concern.”

Also, the association has stated that both the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and the County Government of Nairobi should come up with a clear road map on areas that should be avoided or where certain limits should be considered.

“Approvals that have been granted by City County should be honoured. We should not be having problems with approvals that have been given and we have paid for, and again you get yourself in problems of should they revoke it…that is what is bringing uncertainty. This kind of uncertainty is what frustrates the developers, the investors because you have budgeted for these projects.”


The association secretary-general Mr Abdi Dahir said that an urgent meeting should be convened between the two levels of government and developers to prevent misinterpretation or confusion among the stakeholders.

“We advocate for transparent communication, clarity in regulation, and a supportive environment for sustainable growth. There is also a need to distinguish between legitimate development activities and unlawful practices to prevent any form of harassment or exploitation of developers,” Mr Abdi said.

This comes days after Eastleigh South MCA Mr Nicholas Juma proposed that the airbase should be relocated to give developers more space to accommodate the rapid growth of Eastleigh town.

The high ground around the airbase poses a safety risk not only to the airbase but also to the safe landing of flights.