A Japanese firm has started a resettlement plan for residents who will be displaced by the construction of the Sh84 billion Mombasa Gates Bridge.
Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), through Repcan Association Limited, held a meeting yesterday with 500 fishermen to be affected by the project at Likoni.
The fishermen said they should be fully involved from the initial stages of the project to avert any future misunderstanding that could derail its implementation.
“We are an integral part of this project. Our only source of livelihood will be greatly disrupted once the project formally starts,” said Khamisi Mwamoe, chairman of Likoni Beach Management Unit (BMU).
“There is little or no engagement about what concerns us. We are not even allowed to air our views.”
Mwamoe said despite lots of groundwork having started, they are yet to be told their compensation package.
“We are not opposed to this project, which we believe will ease transport and help open up the entire Likoni and the South Coast but we want to be considered as people whose means of livelihood will be affected,” he said.
The project includes a bridge that will connect Mombasa Island with the South Coast to replace the ferry services at the Likoni channel and the Liwatoni Floating Bridge.
The construction of 1.4km bridge was expected to start in June but it was delayed because the government had not identified the firm to undertake the project.
Kenya acquired Sh47 billion loan from JICA in 2020 for the project. According to the master plan, had the works started this year it would have been completed in June 2024.
Mwamoe said they have been informed that the work will start next year.
Officials from Repcon who attended the meeting said they plan, as part of their mandate, to carry out a livelihood restoration survey as the project seeks to explore possible avenues to empower the fishermen.
Fish dealer, Mohamed Abdalah Chirondo, said the compensation should not leave out genuine people who will be affected by the implementation of the project.
“We have wholly embraced this project. However, we need to be well compensated as we seek alternative places to continue with our daily activities once the work begins,” Chirondo said.
The Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) completed a feasibility study for the 1.4km bridge and construction work is expected to last for 36 months.
KeNHA said that the cable-stayed/powered bridge will have four traffic lanes and will be 69m high at mid-point, leaving sufficient space for ships entering or leaving the Port of Mombasa to pass underneath.
It is anticipated that the new bridge over Likoni Channel will start from Lumumba Road on Mombasa Island to the channel at Mweza creek and connect to the A14 at Mtongwe.
Farmers to showcase produce at city harvest festival