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January 21, 2019

Mama Ngina Drive land thieves to be exposed next week – NLC

National Land Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri points at a grabbed piece of public land at Mama Ngina Drive, Mombasa, yesterday /JOHN CHESOLI
National Land Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri points at a grabbed piece of public land at Mama Ngina Drive, Mombasa, yesterday /JOHN CHESOLI

Twenty acres of the Mama Ngina Water Front Park in Mombasa have been grabbed,  National Land Commission chairman Mohammed Swazuri disclosed yesterday.

The acreage of parcel  set aside  by the government in the 1970s was 26,     according to documents at the Ministry of Lands and the National Land Commission.

Swazuri told journalists in Mombasa that 13 private entities and individuals were irregularly allocated the 20 acres between 1985 and 2012.

“On paper, 20 acres out of 26 acres have been hived off and irregularly allocated. Only six acres of this land remain unallocated. However,  only two plots of the 13 have been fenced off by the purported owners,” according to Swazuri.

Read: Mombasa ups bid to repossess land grabbed in 1990s

The total acreage of the fenced off plots - Plot 408 and Plot 1018 - is  2.3 acres. They measure 1.5 acres and 0.8 acres and are next to Aga Khan School and Coast Police headquarters respectively.

“We are giving notice to the title holders of the 13 parcels to give us the ownership documents to learn how the acquired the said pieces of land and they should also prepare to leave within 90 days,” he said.

He told the Mombasa county government and the police to make sure the two walls  are brought down.

The chairman was touring  the  land in the company of Mombasa Lands Executive Edward Nyale and the Mombasa Deputy County Commissioner Mohammed Salim.

On Monday, President Uhuru Kenyatta commissioned the Sh460 million Mama Ngina Water Front Park regeneration project.

During the ceremony attended by Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and opposition chief Raila Odinga, the President directed the NLC and Ministry of Land to reclaim the grabbed pieces of land.

Read: Uhuru orders repossession of all grabbed land within five months

When asked if the land grabbing will affect the President’s project, Swazuri said the project will go on as planned because that is public land.

He said the 13 names of the companies and individuals will be published on Tuesday next week in the local dailies.

He identified some of them as Mohammed Ali, Nasim Ibrahim, Crescent Properties Limited, Baptist Fellowship Church, Ashok Doshi and Kamlesh Lali Chandra.

On plot 1018, which is at the furthest end of Mama Ngina are shrines, ruins of the St John’s Portuguese Church, a watch tower built by Portuguese and underground tunnels that were used during the slave trade.

Mombasa Lands executive Nyale said they wanted to preserve the area because it is rich in history.

“We have so many things here that are part of history of Mombasa. Therefore, it is important that this area is preserved,” said Nyale.

Mama Ngina Drive will be upgraded to international standards and rebranded as Mombasa Water Park by the Ministry of Tourism.

Governor Hassan Joho said the grabbers of the two plots are known.The land must be returned intact, he said. “Very soon, you will see bulldozers opening up public roads. We are only waiting for NLC to complete their process.”

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