Leaders: Insecurity main concern

Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa (right) confers with County Police Commander Robert Kitur during the Madaraka Day celebrations at the Mombasa County Stadium yesterday. [PHOTO: MAARUFU MOHAMED/STANDARD]

Mombasa leaders yesterday cited land ownership problems, insecurity and illiteracy as some of the development challenges facing the region as the country celebrated 52 year of self-rule.

Yesterday's Madaraka Day celebrations were marked amid renewed security fears following Sunday's shooting of police reservist Khalid Khatri.

Khatri was shot in the stomach by a man dressed as a Muslim woman at Kibokoni in Mombasa's Old Town.

The attacker has not been arrested.

The motive of the attack has not been established, but Mombasa County Commissioner Nelson Marwa yesterday said the attacker is "a 17-year-boy who walks around in bui bui in the Old Town."

The Mombasa leaders attributed insecurity in the county to residents' inability to access loans due to lack of title deeds to use as collateral.

Mombasa County has enjoyed relative calm since June last year after a spate of terror attacks blamed on the Somalia-based Al-Shabaab group.

settle squatters

Mr Marwa, however, warned against ongoing land invasions by squatters, saying that the Government had a plan to resettle all the landless in the region.

"We acknowledge the problem of land in Mombasa and the region is big, but those invading private property must stop it. We know the people who are inciting them and we want to tell them that the Government has a clear road map to solve the matter," said Marwa at Mombasa Stadium yesterday.

He called on youth in possession of illegal arms to surrender them, adding that police will not allow anybody to use unemployment as an excuse to engage in crime.

"If you are underage committing crime and you think the Government will spare you, think again," said Marwa.

Marwa directed chiefs and assistant county commissioners to assist the county government to fight the spread of cholera that he said, threatened many lives in the region.

Nominated Senator Agnes Zani urged the county government to increase allocation to the eduction sector.

"The Government is implementing huge projects in the region but the question is, are our people equipped with enough skills and eduction to take up job opportunities?" wondered Mwabodza.

The leaders said they intend to petition Chief Justice Willy Mutunga over the low bonds being given to terror suspects and other criminals by courts in the region.

"Many chiefs and Nyumba Kumi chairmen are leaving in fear because they are being threatened by suspects who have been released by the courts," said Mvita Member of Parliament (MP), Abdulswamad Nassir.

Meanwhile, the legislature questioned why the Government had not deployed the National Youth Service to assist in evacuation of residents following the floods crisis in the area.