13 August 2018

Kenya: Mombasa Developers Fear Nairobi-Like Demolitions

Photo: Le Pays
Uhuru Kenyatta.

The recent spate of demolitions in Nairobi has sent shivers among owners of premises built on riparian land in Mombasa with reports the exercise would be extended to port city.

This comes as reliable reports revealed that some high-end buildings at Kibarani dumpsite and others encroaching Indian Ocean are to be demolished.

President Uhuru Kenyatta had directed the National Land Commission (NLC) to revoke the Kibarani dumpsite land allocation to private developers and ordered it be given back to the county government.

President Kenyatta further directed the dumpsite to be decommissioned and used for the development of recreational facilities as part of the ongoing efforts to reposition Mombasa as a top tourism destination in the region.

LAND GRABBERS

Meanwhile, some of the buildings earmarked for demolitions are Makupa Transit Shade Limited and Multiple ICD Limited which are in Changamwe.

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The owners of the two companies and Mombasa Cement - which according to Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Natural Resources are among those who have reclaimed part of Kibarani - were last week summoned to Nairobi.

The county has however defended Mombasa Cement, saying the firm is not in the list of Kibarani land and sea grabbing or reclamation beneficiaries.

The three firms had been summoned to Parliament together with owners of Ukay Centre and South End Mall, whose buildings are among those that have been brought down.

Credible sources within Makupa Transit Shade Limited confided to the Nation reports of the planned demolition.

"We know something bad is coming our way but we are yet to familiarise ourselves with the plans. Let's wait and see," the source who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

PUBLIC LAND

The revelations came as a Mombasa based lobby, Haki Africa, called on the government to extend its efforts in reclaiming public land to other counties.

Haki Africa executive director Hussein Khalid said for instance at the Coast, the public have no access to the beaches as some part of the land have been grabbed by private developers.

"In Mombasa road reserves, fish landing sites, public toilets and beach access roads have all been taken up and allocated to private persons who have erected stone structures and buildings," Mr Khalid said.

He added that complaints by Mombasa residents over flooding when the rains pour was as a result of the structures that have been put up along water paths.

The human rights group said according to its investigations there are over 2,000 illegal structures in Mombasa alone.

TOURISM

The findings, Mr Khalid said, were as presented by EACC reports, Ministry of Lands and Ndung'u land report.

"Those structures need to be demolished immediately for the better good of the public.

"We are also calling on the newfound partnership between Governor Hassan Joho and Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala to prove its worth by reclaiming the public lands and beaches to restore the county's tourism glow," Mr Khalid said.

Mr Joho and Mr Balala recently announced their plans to work together in reviving Mombasa's glory.

Part of their plans was to repossess the Kibarani dumpsite as ordered by President Kenyatta.

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