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Nelson Marwa calls for demolition of properties around airport

By Phares Mutembei | April 4th 2016

A section of houses at Changamwe in Mombasa County earmarked for demolition to pave way for the construction of the Moi International Airport road. [PHOTO: MAARUFU MOHAMED/STANDARD]


Structures around Moi International Airport should be demolished, according to recommendations by the County’s Security Intelligence Committee (CSIC).

The committee said the properties are on the Kenya Airport Authority’s (KAA) land and are a threat to security. They also hinder efforts to bring the airport to international standards.

The recommendations were contained in a confidential communication between Coast Regional Coordinator Nelson Marwa and the National Land Commission (NLC) late last year and early this year.

In the letters, Marwa states that illegal settlements, including schools, garages and mosques have been erected illegally on KAA’s 539 hectares of land, posing a threat to aircraft and emergency response.

Marwa wrote to NLC in November 18 last year in his capacity as the Mombasa County Commissioner, asking NLC Chairman Muhammad Swazuri to liaise with KAA, Ministry of Lands and the county government “to identify the number of squatters/business enterprises and iron out any compensation issues to facilitate their relocation to enhance security at the airport”.

“Squatters and business premises such as garages, shops, schools and mosques have encroached on parts of the airport land, posing serious security threats to the installation. The continued inhabitation and mushrooming of structures adjacent to the airport can be exploited by terrorists as potential hideouts and launch sites for attacks targeting airport facilities, aircraft and passengers. They may also hamper effective safety evacuation and emergency response in the event of an aircraft accident,” reads the letter in part.

Avenue for Disagreement

Marwa asked NLC to liaise with the Ministry of Lands to “cancel any title deed(s) issued in respect of the irregularly excised portion(s) of the airport land”.

Details of further interaction between Marwa and Swazuri are not known but The Standard has received a copy of a March 4 letter by the NLC chairman to the KAA acting managing director on the matter.

The Standard also established that Marwa’s letter has opened a new avenue for disagreement with the county government, which claims it was kept in the dark in the November 18, 2015 letter.

Marwa’s letter to Swazuri asks the NLC chairman to discuss this matter with stakeholders, but the Joho administration says it was not copied in.

Yesterday, Marwa and county officials declined to comment on the matter. Swazuri did not also reply to telephone and message inquiries.

On March 4, Swazuri wrote to the KAA acknowledging receipt of Marwa’s letter and promising “appropriate action”. Swazuri’s letter, unlike Marwa’s, is copied to Governor Hassan Joho, Interior Cabinet Secretary and Mombasa County Security Committee.

Yesterday, acting KAA MD Yatich Kagungo did not answer calls or reply to messages but a spokesman of Joho said the county administration never received Marwa’s letter.

Abdulrahman Idris said the county is only aware of the letter to KAA by Swazuri, which was copied to Joho’s administration.

“He (Marwa) did not share with us the recommendations and we only learnt about it through a copy of a letter Swazuri sent to us,” Idris said, adding NLC, KAA and Marwa ought to shed light on this matter.

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