The Senate Committee on Transport, Trade and Infrastructure on Thursday halted the Buxton housing project in Mombasa.
The Modern Housing project linked to Mombasa investor and politician Suleiman Shahbal is worth 6 billion shillings.
However, the Committee chaired by Kiambu Senator Paul Kimani Wamatangi said the whole process revolving around the Buxton modern housing project was unclear from the beginning.
Wamatangi questioned the tendering process saying it was not published in any of the local dailies for interested bidders.
“Apart from the tendering process that according to Wamatangi was flawed, the evacuation process of tenants was conducted in inhuman manner,” He said while he inspected the project.
Wamatangi also, noted that the compensation process was unclear and no specific proper process was followed.
“In fact the Committee has received massive complaints of intimidation and threats from the investor implementing the project which were directed to the tenants,” Noted Mr Wamatangi.
Accompanied by other senators among them Nominated Senator Christine Zawadi, the senators halted all the construction activities implemented the the Buxton Point Limited owned by Mr Shahbal, pending hearing of all the complaints received by the Committee.
The Committee also gave Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho a 14-day ultimatum to appear before it to answer to various concerns raised against the Buxton modern housing project.
The Mombasa county Chief was said to be out of the country during the committee’s visit and was represented by Mombasa county government Chief of staff, Joab Tumbo, a situation that annoyed the Senators.
[The Buxton houses demolished. Photo/Ahmed Omar.]
“The Committee hereby order the Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho to appear before it in the next 14 days, failure to which legal actions will befall the governor,” Said Wamatangi.
Mvita Member of Parliament Abdulswamad Sharif Nassir had opposed the project saying proper processes were not adhered to by the investor.
Nassir said the project could not have yielded massive complaints and cries from tenants who have lived for decades if it considered proper humane aspects in its initial stages.
“We are not against development in our county, however, proper procedures that consider human rights, respect and dignity should be fully observed,” noted Mr. Nassir in his earlier remarks on the project.
Nassir had earlier vowed to fight for the rights of over 514 tenants who he said were forcefully evicted from their homes.
The project involves demolition of existing structures, construction of new housing units with supporting social amenities and subsequent sale and management of the estate prior to handing over the completed project to Mombasa county government.
[The demolition process going on at Buxton area. Photo/Ahmed Omar.]
The tenants used to pay a 2,800 shillings monthly rent for a one-bedroom house and 3,662 shillings for a three-bedroom house.
Over 500 families were given 240,000 shillings each as compensation to pave way for the demolition of the 545 units.