Mombasa is at risk of losing its island status due to land grabbing in the Makupa Causeway – the link between Mombasa Island and the mainland. Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho says this will have an effect on tourists who come to the region for the island.
The National Assembly Committee on Environment and Natural Resources said after an inspection of the region that parts of the Indian Ocean had been grabbed by private individuals. Committee Chairperson, Kareke Mbiuki explained: “Investors have grabbed the riparian land and encroached on the ocean, reclaiming what used to be sea-land and put up structures.” He added that the island would cease to be an island if the development was allowed to continue, stating that the committee had been warned by Unesco to prevent the reclamation to protect the region’s heritage and associated tourism industry.
The Kibarani Dumpsite, which was decommissioned by Joho in April, is located along the causeway. Mbiuki said it was clear that waste was still being dumped into the water, raising further concern over the environment and marine life in the area. The decommissioning of the dumpsite had garnered praise from the tourism industry who had long complained over the eyesore it created. The dumpsite had been in the flight path of Moi International Airport, creating headaches for the tourism industry trying to entice visitors to the region. Mbiuki further commented after his inspection that he believed land-grabbers had been using the dumpsite as a ploy to grab land.
On Monday, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the cancellation of title deeds. In response to this, Joho said his administration was compiling a list of title deed holders and would address the issue. He added that the county planned to create a ‘green park’ recreational facility in the area in line with plans to regenerate the Mombasa area in a bid to reinvigorate tourism for the coastal city. Kenyatta had indicated his support of this project.