Mombasa demolitions halted until appeal is heard

Monday March 19 2018

Demolition

Khadija estate which is earmarked for demolition by the Mombasa County government. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By PHILIP MUYANGA
More by this Author

Residents of estates targeted for demolition by the Mombasa County government under its Sh200 billion housing project will not be evicted until an appeal by three organisations is heard.

The Court of Appeal on Monday directed that the status quo remains until the case is determined.

Legal Advice Centre, Haki Yetu St Patrick’s and Transparency International Kenya lost a case at the High Court challenging the implementation of the project by the county government, which seeks to demolish houses and build 10 modern estates.

PRIORITY

The organisations’ lawyer Willis Oluga sought to have the status quo maintained, saying the county government was at an advanced stage of implementing the project.

“There is danger that if the appeal is not heard on priority basis, some aspects of the case may be rendered nugatory,” Mr Oluga said, adding that contractors were already in some estates.

MISTAKEN

The High Court in its ruling said the public participated in the plan.

In their appeal, the three agencies argue that the High Court erred by holding that the County Urban Renewal and Redevelopment programme was formulated with public participation.

They also argue that the court was mistaken when it said the project did not threaten the right to adequate housing.

“The judge erred by holding that Mombasa County Urban Renewal and Redevelopment of old estates is not in breach of the Public Procurement and Disposal Act, the Environmental Management and Coordination Act, Physical Planning Act and Public Private Partnership Act,” the appeal states.

SUGGESTION BOXES

The High Court also said public participation should include continuous update of the project, with provisions of suggestion boxes.

It said the print and electronic media should be engaged during the implementation of the county’s Vision 2035 project, adding that demolitions should be humane.

The court also said there was no demonstration from the petitioners that the project would interfere with the right to housing.

SECOND PHASE

The estates earmarked for demolition and reconstruction are Khadija, Miritini Greenfields, Changamwe, Likoni and Nyerere.

The second phase, according to the petitioners involves the redevelopment of 12,000 housing units in Tudor, Mzizima, Buxton, Tom Mboya, Kaa Chonjo and Kizingo estates.

In their petition at the High Court, the organisations said as much as the county was in need of affordable houses, implementation of the project failed to comply with crucial legislation.

The date for hearing the appeal will be fixed at the registry.