Mombasa residents sue govt over unlawful eviction, demolition

Tuesday May 16 2017

A section of the tenants at Khadija estate in

A section of the tenants at Khadija estate in Mombasa march outside the estate in solidarity with county government's move to build new units at the estate in this picture taken on March 30, 2016. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP. 

By PHILIP MUYANGA
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MOMBASA

The Mombasa government has been directed to file a response to a petition by residents of an estate which is among those earmarked for demolition and reconstruction under its Sh200 billion housing project within 14 days.

Justice Eric Ogola had been told that the county was yet to file a reply or witness statements to the petition by residents of Khadija estate.

Through lawyer Njeri Chege, the residents told the court that 16 witnesses will be called to give their evidence.

The residents are currently enjoying an order restraining the county government from interfering, demolishing, alienating, disposing or evicting the residents and dealing with Khadija estate pending hearing and determination of the petition.

The orders had been issued by the judge following a consent between the county government and Khadija estate residents.

EVICTION NOTICES

In the petition, the residents who have sued the county government and the county secretary said there has been recent issuance of eviction notices issued to them followed by forceful and illegal eviction.

“For a long time, the petitioners have enjoyed quiet and peaceful occupation of the suit property, some even for decades, however this has changed over the past year with the alleged renewal and development of old estates,” read part of the petition.

They further claim that the implementation of the project ‘Mombasa Urban Renewal and Redevelopment of Old Estates” project is being done in contravention of constitutional principles of public participation.

According to the residents, the county government has refused to receive rent payment from them for a lengthy period of time.

“The respondents have been using this mischief to issue verbal eviction threats and written notices to the petitioners,” the petition further stated.

DOCUMENTS

They further claim that the county government has refused to furnish them with documents relating to the project and have failed to give solutions to their grievances.

The residents now want a declaration that they are entitled to quiet and peaceful occupation of the estate and also the county government has no right to evict them without proper understanding.

They are also seeking a conservatory order restraining the respondents from interfering or dealing with the estate until an amicable solution is reached on their resettlement.

The residents are also seeking an order directing the county government to recall all those who were forcefully evicted.

Last December, three organizations lost a case in which they were challenging the implementation of the housing project.

UPDATES

Justice Patrick Otieno said he did not doubt there was public participation in having the plan which is part of the county government’s Vision 2035 implemented.

The judge ruled that public participation should include continuous update of the project with provisions of suggestion box to be provided.

The petition by Khadija residents will be heard on September 4.