Long-standing land disputes between squatters and tycoons at Mwaeba, Chamunyu and Mwamlai villages in Jomvu constituency, Mombasa County, turned ugly following demolition of houses and heightened eviction threats.
The prime land belonging to the Government sits adjacent to Mombasa’s Moi International Airport, the port of Mombasa and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) track, Miritini section.
Residents said they are living in fear as several firms and rich individuals were seeking to occupy the land after plots were secretly sold to them by local speculators.
Several families at Mwaeba village are spending nights in the cold after three houses were pulled down in July this year following a tussle with a transport firm which reportedly bought the land from an influential individual.
Mr. Mugo Mathu said after three houses belonging to his family were demolished by gang, he now fears for his life following the endless dispute that started way back in 2014.
“We have been living as squatters on government land but we are facing constant threats from land speculators and rich companies seeking to develop facilities here. A gang pulled down our three houses while we watched helplessly. I appeal for Government intervention,” Mr. Mathu said.
Another resident Mary Muthoni said they have had a cat and mouse game with the tycoons seeking to dispossess squatters at Mwaeba, Chamunyu and Mwamlai villages.
Mary said wealthy businesspeople were raiding on the squatters’ land following a delay by Government to complete working on a scheme.
She is now accusing the local administration and Mombasa County land officers for colluding with land unscrupulous cartels who are invading peoples land with fake documents.
Mary said wherever she goes to seeks help from officials of the local administration, Village elders, area Chief and land officers she is always chased away.
“There was land set aside for settlement of squatters who were evicted from a nearby plot. However, the alternative land reserved for squatters has been invaded by wealthy tycoons,” Mathu complained.
Mr. Mathu showed the media letters showed that he has been to Changamwe police station and National Land Commission (NLC) offices over the land tussle since 2014 without much success.
On August 5, 2015, Prof Swazuri wrote to the Mombasa county land management board asking it to give the ground status report following Mr. Mathu’s petition.
On October 17, 2016 Mombasa NLC coordinator Mr. Edward Bosire called for an alternative dispute resolution for plot number F13/06 but the meeting failed to resolve the matter after one party allegedly refused to cooperate.