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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Suspect silence as KPA loses yet another prime plot

Lands cabinet secretary Charity Ngilu has been urged to repossess a piece of land at Shimanzi belonging to Kenya Ports Authority which was grabbed by a Mombasa tycoon during Mwai Kibaki’s administration.
Mombasa human rights organisations are preparing to hold a demonstration to draw the attention of Ngilu and the National Land Commission on the matter. They wonder why the issue was being swept under the carpet.
“We were surprised to see that KPA was not among state corporations that are complaining of their land having been grabbed. Apart from this particular land, KPA land problems are numerous and must be resolved once and for all,” said David Ochieng.
The piece of land initially had offices that were being used by KPA to pay its casual labourers. The place is famously known as labour. Part of the land also had staff houses for the police which were pulled down after the tycoon moved in.
And a few years before the land was fenced off and made private property in controversial circumstances, the buildings and the land were the headquarters of the then Kilindini district which was later split to create Likoni and Changamwe districts. They are now  subcounties.
Mombasa county commissioner Nelson Marwa was the pioneer and the last Kilindini DC and he operated from the land now in a private individual’s hands. It is said a top KPA manager who was favoured by the minister was behind the grabbing and sale of the prime KPA land is now unwilling to have the land repossessed for fear of antagonising his benefactor.
This fact came into the public domain after the manager declined to write to the National Land Commission to have the piece of land returned back. This is after the NLC sent out an invitation to state corporations to give them information about the grabbed lands.
On the other hand, the former minister has reportedly assured the worried grabber that nothing would happen to him as the chair of the NLC is his personal friend.
The former minister also urged KPA not to complain about the land to the NLC. The port of Mombasa is a victim of serious land grabbing scandals. Most of the authority’s land and houses in Kizingo and Nyali estates have long been converted to private property.