Mombasa houses on shipping paths get demolition notice

Some of the houses targeted for demolition at Senti Kumi village in Likoni, Mombasa. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]
Hundreds of buildings will be brought down in Mombasa to clear shipping routes. 

The National Land Commission (NLC), Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) said the targeted homes and buildings either encroached on shipping paths or had obscured and blocked vessel navigational aids and beacons for years.

They want all navigational beacons freed from obstructions to save the country from being blacklisted by the United Nations’ International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

The officials explained that IMO had threatened to stop ships from going to the port of Mombasa due to poor visibility of the shipping route unless the country cleared the crowded houses blocking the beacons.

Yesterday, NLC chairman Muhamad Swazuri told hundreds of homeowners at Senti Kumi village in Likoni, Mombasa that houses that blocked navigation aids would be demolished by February 9.

Prof Swazuri was accompanied by KMA director general George Nyamoko, the KPA officer in charge of navigational aids Patrick Ondanyi Onyango and the Likoni sub-county administration officials.

“You have up to February 9 to remove your structures, or they will be forcibly demolished. We cannot risk losing shipping business because of people who have built homes around navigational aids,” Swazuri warned.

He said there were up to 31 plots at the Coast where shipping beacons had been obstructed. The plots are in Mombasa and Kilifi counties.

Swazuri said homeowners were served with notices to vacate the affected areas on January 18, last year, but they did not comply.

The NLC boss asked surveyors to mark the affected houses and mark out the navigation area within the next three days ahead of demolitions.

Major (Rtd) Nyamoko described the obstruction of the shipping beacons as a serious safety matter.

He said KMA had, in 2013, requested NLC to intervene after IMO warned Kenya to clear the shipping routes of all structures.

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Maritime transportDemolitionsNational Land CommissionKenya Maritime AuthorityKenya Ports Authority