Kenya

Jomvu land owners sue over forceful relocation

Jomvu land owners sue over forceful relocation

Contractor opens a section of the Changamwe Roundabout Road which is under construction to allow smooth flow of Traffic coming out of Mombasa through the Mikindani-Jomvu route in this photo taken on 18th April 2021.

Landowners who were forcefully relocated to pave way for expansion of the Sh6.5 billion Mombasa-Jomvu road have sued the government.

The petitioners, who own businesses and residential houses, want compensation worth millions of shillings before the construction work commences.

Led by Godfrey Simiyu, Muriithi Jel, Amina Abdu, and John Gitonga, the complainants have clarified that they are not opposed to the road expansion project but want to be compensated first before moving out.

“We want to secure our livelihoods as moving out without any compensation would be detrimental to our economic security,” they said through Makori Omboga advocates.

Mr Patrick Kabundu, who is also acting for the petitioners, through the law firm, said that the affected parties ought to be compensated before they surrender their property to the government.

He has told the court that government needs to follow the law on compulsory acquisition of private properties.

In the petition filed before Environment and Land Court in Mombasa, the petitioners have accused the National Land Commission (NLC) of selective compensation.

They claim that the commission has sidelined them since some of their neighbours have been compensated for the loss of their businesses and for the acquisition of their property.

“The part payment of compensation and collective eviction for all is discriminatory and detrimental to our rights as small business owners. We are apprehensive that our rights to compensation are being violated,” they said.

The petitioners have told the court that they expected to use the compensation money as capital to set up their businesses elsewhere and purchase land.

The petitioners, who are residents of Bahati area, were served with the notice to vacate the premises on March 31. The notice gave them seven days to vacate or face eviction.

The dualing of the Mombasa-Mariakani road project passes through the land where the petitioners’ residences and businesses are located.

Upon completion, the road will facilitate easy access to the Mombasa port and ease freight transport originating or destined for Nairobi and other regional countries in East Africa.

The road project is the first phase of the dualling of the 41.6-kilometre Mombasa-Mariakani Road.

The expansion of this road is one of the multibillion-shilling infrastructural projects currently ongoing in Mombasa to change the face of the port city, boosting its prospects in transport and tourism.

The petitioners say these projects will benefit the tourist city but maintained that the interest of those affected by the improvements needs to be taken care of.

“Despite pleas to forestall the demolition of our premises, the defendants are adamant and want to continue with the project to our detriment,” said Mr Gitonga in a supporting affidavit.

The four petitioners are demanding a cumulative Sh8.9 million from the government for the demolished properties and acquired land parcels.

They have sued Kenya National Highways Authority and NLC.

They want their eviction from their businesses and residential houses stopped until their dues are paid.

“We are small businessmen and residents who have hard hit by the covid-19 pandemic, we have no capital or savings to set up new businesses premises or homes without the compensation due to us,” said the Gitonga.

Ms Abdu has lamented that the estate that she administers has remain vacant as the tenants left due to the ongoing road works, hence has suffered loss of income.

The court has certified the case as urgent and directed for inter parties hearing.