Engineering in Kenya

Construction and Escalating poverty

Posted by on Jan 29, 2018 in Mechanical Engineering | 0 comments

Construction Construction and Escalating poverty


Life is centered on Construction. Construction of houses, roads and other infrastructure must be well planned not to result into poverty. When Construction and planning is neglected, the price to pay in terms of lost life and property is enormous resulting to escalated poverty.

“Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp” is fast becoming a common scream from Kenyans in trouble. Many tragedies have visited our Amazing beloved country, what these tragedies have in common is that they are more often than not human triggered or human made. They occur in places were proper planning in Construction has been neglected or nonexistent. Engineering in Kenya has more articles.

The  Day the  Worst Fire Tragedy visited Nairobi and Construction

Monday the 12th September 2011 will be remembered by many as the day the worst fire tragedy visited Nairobi. It all happened at the Sinai slums situated deep in the capitals industrial area.

Without apportioning blame on the culpable parties, what strikes an observer is the time it takes to rescue those in need. The Sinai slums are house clusters Constructed without any foresight for the need for evacuation in case of emergency. The authorities and slum dwellers should at least have left a passable path in the center of the slum. This would have helped reach both sides of the divide in case of trouble.

These scenarios are replicated in many other slums and as reported in the daily newspapers “they are tragedies waiting to happen”. How many lives should be lost before we can finally wake up to reality and realize that it does not take that much to save lives.

My argument is rather simplistic, without necessarily going into the details why slum are mushrooming, and where, the mushrooming slums should have access paths to the center. The access paths (roads) should at least be all weather. Am sure this can even be handled by a Location sub chief. The constructed roads / path can come in handy for use by Ambulances and fire fighting engines.

Other tragedies where Construction has played its parts is the gas explosion at Nakumatt Downtown. The place had not fire exit despite the fact that highly flammable substances were being sold.

It would be a serious omission not to mention the many buildings that collapse around the country. The collapsed buildings result to loss of life and funds, as it would still cost the building owner money to remove the rabble and construct a fresh.

In a rare twisted tragedy not only Constructed buildings collapse but also the sites where Construction materials are excavated. Today our quarries have become death traps. The collapse of these mines result in loss of employment besides loss of life, escalating poverty levels of the miners.

It is vital to note that we cannot fail to attribute road carnage to road Construction. Some of our roads are constructed in a manner not friendly to driving. Though no conclusive research has been done to prove this, it is my belief that some roads were constructed in areas that are hilly and unsuitable or were Constructed with sharp bends, usually referred to as “Black spots”.

Construction Can Either be the Target or Trigger of Escalating Poverty

When I look at things Kenyan, am appalled by how Construction can either be the target or trigger of escalating poverty.

Take for instance the post election violence. Constructions owned by the targeted ethnic group become their dilemma as the crude armed youths set fire and ransacked these Constructions. Those that sought refuge in a church were torched resulting in unnecessary loss of life. Beautiful homes were reduced to shells leaving the owners homeless and destitute.

One wonders “if the targeted ethnic group had not constructed these homes, would the post election violence reached the proportions it did?” Kenyans to date are still counting losses associated with the violence.

A Humble Question to our Kenya Engineers on Construction

It may not be too difficult, but I would like to pose a humble question to our Kenya Engineers, “is it possible for them to assist on philanthropic terms the slum dwellers and other areas where Construction goes on?” There assistance would go a long way in identifying usable paths, cheap safe housing materials and proper mining techniques.

Besides enhancing human resources, it is imperative to look at Construction if we have to improve our lives and stop escalation of poverty among our people. Something as beneficial and good as Construction should not be seen as the cause of escalating poverty.


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