By Tobby Otum
The petition against the demolition of old dilapidated houses at the famous Buxton Estate in Mvita Constituency, Mombasa County for a proposed Sh 6 billion modern, state-of-the-art housing project is a serious issue and deserves conservatory orders from the court.
The aggrieved party under the umbrella of Buxton Welfare Association (BWA) through their counsel Gikandi Ngibuini said they are not ready to deal with the petition before the court in a casual manner.
Ngibuini said justice cannot be compromised at the court as the tenants who double up as the aggrieved party pay their monthly rent of Sh 3,500.
“The aggrieved party has lived in their rental houses for decades now,” he told the court.
Gikandi pointed out the second interested party [Buxton Point Apartment] before the disputed matter is a private entity and has a joint venture agreement with the Mombasa county government which is in the public domain.
He was making his oral submission against the project before Justice Munyao Sila in an open court at the parking bay of the Mombasa law courts in Mombasa county where judgment was set for March 3.
The aggrieved party’s counsel told the court anybody who comes across the venture agreement can’t fail to see the owner of the project is being gifted with 14acres of prime part of land in Mombasa county.
Gikandi said in his oral submission that the land on which the proposed housing project is to take place is the fat part of a cow.
He insisted the end result of the venture agreement is to get the 14 acre land and demanded an explanation about the current ownership of the land.
“The 14 acres of land is leased by the national government and the county government and the private developer lacks legal rights to use the land for development,” he pointed out.
Last year, the aggrieved residents opposed the proposed state-of-the-art housing project with a public participation exercise being marked with divisions as each side wanted to be heard while the fate of the project awaited the outcome of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).
The aggrieved party alleged the project developer Suleiman Shahbal used to oppose the project when it was owned by the defunct Mombasa Municipal Council.
The aggrieved party want the project stopped citing lack of proper public participation and are opposed to the mortgage scheme preferring a tenant purchase scheme.
They also established that a letter has been sent to financial institutions warning them to keep off the controversial project.
A day before the signing of the document to suspend the project at the estate of 520 units with almost 2500 families those opposed to the project held a media briefing organized by former Mombasa senator Omar Sarai and Nyali MP Mohamed Ali alias Jicho Pevu. Also present at the Renaissance Centre in Mvita constituency, Mombasa county was United Green Movement [UGM] General Secretary Hamisa Maalim Zaja.
The Nyali legislator pointed an accusing finger at Mombasa governor Hassan Ali Joho for allegedly making a political deal with his former political rival Shahbal who has ambitions to succeed him as governor in the 2022 general elections.
“The terms and conditions of the mortgage are harsh and we cannot meet their requirements,” he had said.