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November 20, 2018

Fishers demand compensation

A lone fisherman on the Tudor creek at Kibarani next to the dumping site /CHARLES MGHENYI
A lone fisherman on the Tudor creek at Kibarani next to the dumping site /CHARLES MGHENYI

Some 200 fishermen, who used to fish along Tudor-Shimanzi creek at Kibarani want government to force the developers who reclaimed part of the India Ocean compensate them.

According to the fishermen, through their umbrella body, Wavuvi Association of Kenya, each of them used to get between 50kg- 100kg of fish per day, but the reclamation of land at Kibarani destroyed the mangroves which were the breeding ground for fish.

The area was rich in prawns, crabs and lobsters.

They now get less than 2kg of fish per day, after part of that channel was reclaimed by some transport and logistics companies, which now claim ownership of the 80-acre Kibarani piece of land.

On Monday, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered National Land Commission chair, Professor Muhammad Swazuri to revoke the titles of the said individuals and hand over the land back to the county government of Mombasa to put up a green park.

On Tuesday afternoon, Hamid Omar, the chairperson of the Wavuvi Association of Kenya, said they are happy with President Uhuru’s directive, but they now want the companies that reclaimed part of the ocean to compensate the over 200 fishermen who lost their livelihood.

Omar said they had four fish landing sites around the Shimanzi area, but they lost the sites due to reclamation of the creek.

“We used to have about four fish landing sites along this channel, which are over 100 years old, but due to the reclamation and the dumping of garbage into the ocean, we lost them. We also lost the mangroves which are good breeding grounds for fish,” said Omar.

He said they had tried to raise complaints with the Fisheries Department and National Environment Management Authority, but the issued was never addressed.

Hajj Ramadhan, a member of the association and a fisherman with over 30 year of experience, said many of fisherfolks have failed to take their children to school or fend their families due to poverty.

“We cannot take our children to school, we cannot take care of our families because our places of work were destroyed by these private developers. We now want the national government and the county government to force these companies to compensate us for the loss,” said Ramadhan.

He said they are registered fishermen with the Fisheries Department paying Sh200 annually for the renewal of their licenses, therefore the government has their record.

“We are genuine fishermen. We pay taxes, we want to be compensated,” he said.

However, they did not specify the amount of compensation they want, saying that they should be called on a negotiation table to deliberate of this.

Makupa Sheds, Multiple Hauliers and Mombasa Cement are three companies that the National Assembly Committee of Environment said were doing reclamation at Kibarani.

The Kareke Mbiuki- led committee summon the companies to appear before the committee on August 9 over the reclamation of the Kibarani.

However, Mombasa County government on Tuesday said Mombasa Cement is not part of the companies that were reclaiming the Kibarani site.

The Lands County Executive Edward Nyale said they are compiling the list of those who were irregularly allocated land at Kibarani and they will soon make it public.

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