14 May 2018

Kenya: Joho Says Sea Reclamation a Threat to Mombasa

Governor Hassan Ali Joho has warned Mombasa may cease being an island if wanton reclamation of the Indian Ocean continues.

The governor decried massive reclamation of the sea at Makupa and at Madhubaha near Allidina Visram High school is threatening the county's ecosystem, warning that it could lose its island status.

Speaking during the national tree planting day at Shimo la Tewa Primary school on Saturday, Mr Joho called on players in the environmental sector to conserve the mangrove ecosystem which is being threatened by reclamation and constructions.

"We want to retain the island status. People should stop reclaiming the ocean. Reclamation will make Mombasa to lose its status as an island and its position as a top tourism destination. There are some people reclaiming the ocean for their own selfish benefits," he said .


Head teachers and the Kenya National Union of Teachers officials also decried grabbing of school land in Mombasa.

Wealthy private developers are eyeing land near the ocean where some public schools are located.

In a past interview, the National Land Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri said businessmen want to own prime land near the ocean due to demand for port facilities.

"Five wealthy people have applied for reclamation but we have stopped it. Traders want to be at the port because it is cheaper to directly load and offload goods from the ship," Prof Swazuri said in a past interview with the Nation.

Prof Swazuri said the reclamation at Makupa is being one of the biggest challenges NLC is trying to resolve.


A wealthy private developer reclaimed 43 acres of the India Ocean in Kibarani area affecting around 1000 fishermen.

Despite the county government stopping several constructions and reclamation, Mr Joho said persons with selfish interests, are still destroying the ecosystem.

"They should stop hiding behind religion. Don't build mosques in inappropriate areas there are laws that should be followed," Mr Joho said.

"Don't use the name of a mosque to reclaim and build a hotel at the shores. We urge the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Judiciary and police to help us in enforcement of laws and prosecuting individuals reclaiming and constructing high end hotels. Get permits before any construction," Mr Joho added.

He said members of the public must have access to the ocean. "Don't build in waterways. Be responsible. People have no access to the ocean due to reclamation," he said.


Mr Joho also urged the residents to plant indigenous and herbal trees.

He said his administration, in partnership with Kenya Forest Services, will be planting trees every weekend across the county.

"Let us plant trees especially the indigenous species all over the county. The environment department in the county must ensure trees are planted in the county every weekend," said Mr Joho.

Mombasa deputy county commissioner Mahmud Salim urged the county government to ensure residents live 100 metres away from the ocean.

Coast regional head of KFS, Simon Wahome said the agency aims to plant 1.5 million trees to cover 4,500 hectares with the sponsorship of Trademark East Africa.

"In Mombasa County we will plant 600,000 trees. We also want to devolve the forest function to make it easy to plant more trees in the region," Mr Wahome said.

During the event, 3,000 tree seedlings were planted.


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