Jomvu villagers up in arms over blocked access road

Land owner says it is private property and has only been allowing residents to use it

In Summary
  • Dama Juma, a Nyumba Kumi elder said the road links Kwa Noti village with Kwa Wanje and Moroto villages downstream.
  • She insisted on the opening of the road, saying it was the only entry point in case of an emergency.

A row is brewing in Kwa Noti village in Jomvu subcounty, Mombasa, after one of the residents allegedly blocked an access road.

Over 300 families living in the area have now been forced to seek alternative routes as they go about their daily routines.

The owner of the land  Omar  Ahmed , however, claims that there is no access road through his land, adding that he has only been allowing them to pass through his private property.

George Okidi, a resident, said they have been using the road for many years and were shocked when it was blocked about a month ago without any notice.

“We are asking the government to come in and assist us, talks can come later, but the first thing that must happen is to have access,” he said.

Okidi said they have reported the matter to the village elder and area chief, but no action has been taken.

Dama Juma, a Nyumba Kumi elder said the road links Kwa Noti village with Kwa Wanje and Moroto villages downstream.

She insisted on the opening of the road, saying it was the only entry point in case of an emergency.

We all need this road because if something happens we don’t know how we will get help. In case of a fire or we get a sick person that needs to be taken to hospital, what will we do if we can’t pass through?” 

She insisted that representatives from the three villages should have been called for a meeting before the decision to block the access road was reached.

The decision to block the road has also affected a number of school-going children within the area who have been forced to seek alternative routes to get to school.

David Owino, a teacher at one of the schools lamented that students will soon be sitting for exams with others expected to sit for their national exams at the end of this month.

“We have 350 students in our school of which 71 are candidates. I wonder how we are going to receive the examination materials if we have to go around more than 500 meters,” Owino said.

However, the owner of the land, Omar Ahmed insisted that there is no access road passing through his property.

He claimed he has stayed in the area since 1992 and that all those complaining came to the area after him.

“When I came here this place was a thicket, all these people complaining found me here, and I did not find them. When they came I received them as a good neighbour,” he said.

“Surprisingly, my decision to allow them to pass through my property has now become a must for them to use this as an access road for vehicles,” Ahmed said.

He said trouble began a few months ago when he began construction of his new house in the area as villages took him to the area chief complaining that his construction materials were blocking their access road.

The road covered in the concrete slab was put up by the World Bank more than 10 years ago through a project meant to improve access and connectivity.

“The villagers sent elders severally to my house to convince me to allow the road to be built, but I refused, they built it without my knowledge while I was out of town,” he said.

The matter has been reported to the Assistant County Commissioner Miritini division Margaret Ndoo who has ordered that no further activities should continue until the matter is resolved.

Through a letter dated October 14, the ACC cautioned Ahmed to cease all building activities currently taking place and any future plans for the building until he is given a go-ahead from the office.

“If you proceed to do so, you will be held in contempt and are liable to face criminal charges as well as undergo disciplinary action,” read part of the letter.

The matter has also caught the attention of a human rights organisation, Muslim for Human Rights, who have agreed to intervene to resolve the matter before it gets out of hand.

Muhuri’s Rapid Response officer Francis Auma, said they shall bring all parties together so that they can come to an understanding.

“As an organisation, we shall mobilise all stakeholders and mediate over the matter, if it fails, then we shall head to court and await its decision. However, even if an individual claims to have the right over the land, public interest comes first, and that cannot be compromised,” he said.

Auma called on the county to intervene through the Department of Infrastructure and urban planning even as he alleged that some county officials might have been compromised to turn a blind eye to the matter.


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