With plans to build a road connecting Mombasa island to the South Coast at an advanced stage, a lot of changes and anxiety are abound in the areas where the 22km road will pass, writes JECKONIA OTIENO
Further, the road is expected to ease pressure on Mombasa Island which acts as a transit hub among other major functions it serves along the coast and in Kenya as a whole.
?The road connecting the island to the south through Dongo Kundu is expected to bring with it mixed fortunes to both Mombasa and Kwale counties.
?Mama Kadzo Mwatela is in her shamba just beside her mud-walled, grass thatched house overlooking the ocean. She is, however, unsure of what the road will mean because part the piece of land on which she lives and farms is going to be used in the multi-billion shilling project expected to ease the pressure on the two ferry service points — Likoni and Mtongwe.
?Mwatela says that for sure the residents have heard about the construction but not much about what it portends for them because seemingly the Government is quiet about the details, at least according to the locals.
?She says, “A list has been made but we do not know whether it is about compensation or forceful eviction because we have not been told much about the project.”
?Together with her children, she sits unsure of the next course of action. Mwatela insists that for them to move, they must be paid because this is their livelihood.?
Nevertheless, Mwatela is hopeful that an amicable resettlement programme can be worked out. This way, the road will be a boon for the area residents. The area has remained under-developed despite the visible development on the other side of the channel separating the two areas. They are glaringly, economically worlds apart.
?Though Mwatela, who has lived at Dongo Kundu for 23 years, can just see Mombasa yonder, she has to go round all the way to Likoni on the rough road before she can get to the highway, risking her life on a motorbike just like many other locals of Dongo Kundu. But despite the anxiety, the road is concerning, this is expected to change.
?Not far from Mwatela’s homestead is Chizi Mazera’s house. Like Mwatela, she also does not know much about the proposed road but she hopes that the Government will play fair if there is need for resettlement.