The United Nations has threatened to delist Mombasa as a protected island due to massive sea reclamation that has turned it into a peninsula.
National Land Commission (NLC) Chairman Muhammad Swazuri Thursday said wanton land reclamation had defaced the historical status of the island, prompting the UN warning.
Prof Swazuri said Mombasa must be preserved and warned that reclamation of land from the ocean was affecting the natural flow of water into the creek, thus altering the geographical status of Mombasa into a peninsular.
“The UN conducts an audit of islands annually. It has threatened to delist Mombasa,” said Swazuri.
The NLC chairman did not indicate when the global body had written to Kenya, but the delisting of Mombasa could have far-reaching consequences, especially on the tourism sector.
There is heightened reclamation of land from the Indian Ocean, which Swazuri and other experts said threatened the ecological status of Mombasa and other parts of the coast.
Swazuri said the land reclamation was illegal and stopped the reclamation of two acres by the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) at Fort Jesus.
“We cannot allow the reclaiming of land here because of the historical importance and ecological status of this area. I have directed the NMK to stop it immediately,” said Swazuri.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said his administration had approved the construction of a seawall to protect Fort Jesus from the rising tides that were eroding it and not a reclamation.
“We approved the construction of a seawall, but we will not allow land reclamation in that area,” said Mr Joho. He admitted knowledge of the UN threat.
He said he had also informed the Kenya National Highways Authority to plan the construction of a bridge at Kibarani and do away with the Kibarani Causeway.
“The wanton reclamation of land from the ocean at Kibarani is something I will not allow to continue,” said Joho.