Tenants move to court as NHC plans to demolish old houses

Coast Regional Director of AHP and Markets John Karanja (left) with Mombasa Deputy County Commissioner Ronald Mwiwawi during a meeting on January 10, 2024. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Panic has gripped tenants of the old houses owned by the National Housing Corporation (NHC) in Changamwe, Mombasa, following reports of impending demolition to pave the way for affordable housing units.

On Thursday, NHC officials held a closed-door meeting with the top security officers at the Coast ahead of the demolition scheduled for Saturday.

Mombasa Regional Director of Affordable Housing and Marketing John Karanja said NHC plans to build 50,000 affordable houses in Mombasa.

He announced that NHC would replace the dilapidated houses at Changamwe NHC estate in phase one of the project.

Karanja revealed that NHC has identified a five-acre plot at Changamwe estate to construct the first 100 affordable houses at Sh400 million.

“The government has already built affordable housing units at Burkstan which have already been occupied and we are also going for phase two in the place soon,” he said.

The tenants have moved to court to stop the planned demolitions, saying they were not consulted.

Secretary of Changamwe NHC Tenants Association Dominic Miguna insisted that they would not vacate the houses until the case filed at the High Court is heard and determined.

“We indeed went to court but the orders stopping demolition were vacated but the status quo is in force,” said Muguna.

He, however, admitted that some tenants had vacated the houses following a notice to pave the way for the affordable housing units.

“We do not have a clear picture of what is happening because NHC officials have not had dialogue with us about the way forward," said Miguna.

But Karanja, while addressing the media at the Uhuru Na Kazi building, clarified that NHC has no problem with tenants at Changamwe estate.

“We have moved most of the tenants to new houses as such there is no problem. The contractor is already on the ground,” he said.

Miguna noted that some houses already have the asbestos roof removed.

“We indeed want the asbestos roofs removed because they are a health hazard but the evictions should have a human face,” he said.

Secretary of Changamwe NHC Tenants Association regretted that most of the tenants who were told to relocate to new houses cannot afford the new rent of Sh15,000 for two-bedroom houses.

"Most of my members are now paying Sh7,500 for rent and are not able to pay Sh15,000 per month for two bedrooms," he said.

He claimed that some of the tenants are persons living with disability and they cannot access the storey houses that they have been offered.

But Karanja who accompanied Mombasa Deputy County Commissioner Ronald Mwiwawi said the corporation would give the tenants alternative houses.

The regional boss noted that NHC plans to put up 10,000 affordable housing units in the five counties in the Coast region.

“The corporation is planning to build 100,000 housing units in the Coast region in which Mombasa will have 50,000 while the five remaining counties will have 10,000 each,” said Karanja.

He said the corporation also plans to build modern markets in Diana, Kinango, Lunga Lunga, and Smart City in Diani.

Miwawi said the construction of the houses which will be spread in every constituency will create employment for the artisans.

He assured that during the construction of the houses 50,000 residents will get employment.