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It's all systems go for Sh8b Likoni housing project

By Benard Sanga - January 27th 2022

A section of the Likoni Flats building's in Mombasa County that were built in 1973. [Robert Menza, Standard]

Residents of Likoni Flats estate in Mombasa have finally agreed to move out of their dilapidated houses to allow the county government to construct new ones in an Sh8 billion partnership with a private developer.

Discussions to have the 348 tenants move out have taken six years. 

The county government has partnered with Gold-line Rinco Company to put up 3,200 housing units. In the deal, the government will provide the land.

Chief Officer for Land and Housing June Mwajuma said the old buildings will be demolished with construction works set to start mid this year.

"We expect the groundbreaking ceremony to take place mid this year. Once the project is complete, the county government will be given a number of houses while the rest will be sold by the financier," said Dr Mwajuma.

The estate owned by the county was built in 1973. Most houses are in ruins.

"We have given tenants time to organise themselves, including finding new houses and schools for their children," said Mwajuma who spoke at Mwahima Stadium in Likoni during a public participation meeting.

Some residents asked the government to give them time, until after this year's elections, to move out.

"We are ready to move out and allow the county to continue with its project to bring these houses down and put up new units. However, we are asking for some time, if possible, until after the elections. Most of us are registered voters in Likoni. We may find challenges voting if we move out now," said Riziki Hamis, one of the tenants.

Philip Kiio called on the government to ensure only those deserving benefit from the money tenants are expected to be paid to move out.

Kiio claimed names of those who left many years ago are still on the list and urged the county government to expunge them.

"We paid those who gave us these houses. We hope the list will be scrutinized so that those who will be given the relocation allowance are genuine tenants," he said.

Mr Steven Otieno wants the developer to give first priority to them when selling the new houses.

"We would also want a meeting with the developer to agree on a payment plan. We hope they will allow us to buy the houses and pay for them in instalments. Most of us are casual labourers and small-scale traders. We cannot afford cash payment," said Otieno.

The tenants pay the government between Sh2,000 and Sh4,000 in monthly rent for the houses which are in one, two, and three bedrooms.

Mwajuma said they will evaluate the new houses before the new rents are set. "Ideally, we expect the government houses to be cheaper. The tenants being moved will be given the priority."

She added: "The tenants will also pay Sh200,000 less of the prices set for the new units," said Mwajuma. "The project is part of the national government's agenda for affordable housing."

Governor Hassan Ali Joho's administration has earmarked several estates in the county for demolition and construction of the units. Already, construction of the Sh6 billion houses at Buxton estate is going on.

About 500 families that lived at Buxton estate, owned by the county government, moved out after receiving a relocation allowance.

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