31 August 2018

Kenya Ports Authority - Ocean Land Grabbing to Curtail Growth

Grabbing of ocean land at the Kibarani dumpsite will hinder expansion of the Mombasa port, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has said.

KPA on Thursday said the reclamation of the sea by private developers has made it impossible to undertake tides observations, hydrographic surveys and bathymetric measurement.

KPA senior surveyor Hussein Mamo said if the developments at the sea are not dealt with, operations will continue to be affected.

"This means that the ocean space left is no longer viable for any intended port operations and future expansion," Mr Mamo said.

In a report presented to the National Land Commission (NLC), KPA says that construction of seawalls by the developers will damage the berths at the port, which is Kenya's main international gateway by sea.

"The existing infrastructure sustaining the berths will not be spared," the report says.

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LAND GRABBERS

It adds that the high degree of siltation at the port has been a costly affair in terms of dredging, which is done after three to four years.

Kibarani is a prime area adjacent to KPA harbour on the Makupa causeway. Half of the area, which is a public land, has been grabbed by atleast 30 companies.

The Makupa causeway, which dissects Tudor Creek to the east and Port Reitz creek to the west, was built in 1920s with environmental surveys showing it has had a negative impact on marine life at both creeks.

It is one of three road links between the Island and the mainland - the other two being Nyali bridge and Kipevu causeway at the KPA headquarters.

Over the years, dumping of garbage at the site has gone on unabated, with most of the waste getting into the ocean.

SURRENDER TITLE DEEDS

Investors have also hived off parcels of public land and converted them to private property with approval from government officials.

Last week, during the National Land Commission inquiry on grabbing of Kibarani dumpsite, KPA expressed shock that Gapco Kenya, which is now under Total Kenya, claimed ownership of a piece of land that the commission acting chairperson Abigael Mbagaya said was actually in the ocean.

It also emerged that another company, Makupa Transit, owns nine acres of the ocean and had already reclaimed 6.5 acres, according to its lawyer Titus Mugambi.

Following the revelations, Ms Mbagaya ordered the KPA to compile a report on the effects land grabbing has had on port operations as he urged the developers to surrender the title deeds.

In its report, the KPA has recommended that the sea be reclaimed from land in view of restoring where the original water mark was.

"All titles at Kibarani must be cancelled and the development removed to restore the beauty of the Island," Mr Mamo said.

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