The development of the first phase of Mombasa’s Sh50 billion housing project is set to start after it received the green light from locals who had initially opposed it.
For the last four years, the plan by Mombasa County Government to demolish old houses at its estates and erect new houses under its regeneration project has met opposition by the tenants and a section of local politicians.
Last week, Nyali MP Mohamed Ali and former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar threatened to move to court to stop the project, alleging it was shrouded in mystery and corruption.
Mr Omar claimed that the project was being rushed, and demanded that it be suspended. He called for a fresh re-evaluation and warned lenders against financing it.
The dilapidated houses in the county’s 11 estates will be demolished to create space for the construction of the first 32,000 new low-cost units, at a cost of Sh6 billion.
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The project by Governor Hassan Joho's administration’s is expected to plug the housing deficit in the county, estimated to be about 380,000 housing units.
Yesterday, we established that 475 out of 542 tenants at Buxton, one of the estates earmarked for re-development, have given consent and agreed to relocate.
Buxton Tenants Welfare Group Chairman Sheikh Mohamed Khalifa said tenants have accepted the housing deal after being offered an attractive package.
“We have accepted this project and we are ready to defend it against political interference. The people opposing it are not tenants,” he said.
According to Mr Suleiman Shahbal, a developer who bagged the multi-billion tender, modern housing units will be built at Buxton estate to benefit over 10,000 tenants in the first phase of the project.
All registered tenants to be affected will each be paid Sh300,000 as an incentive to move out of the 12-acre estate.
“On October 1, we will start to compensate the 524 registered tenants to pave way for the project. Of the 524, some 472 have agreed to move out,” Mr Shahbal said yesterday.
Shahbal said by the end of October, over 1,000 youth and women will undergo construction work skills training ahead of the January 2 ground breaking of the project.
“On January 2, 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga will grace the ground breaking of the Buxton housing project,” an optimistic Shahbal told The Standard yesterday.