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Workers protest company closure in Mombasa

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[Workers protesting closure of project. Photo/Ahmed Omar].

 

More than 300 construction workers held demonstration in Mombasa to protest against a court order stopping Mbesa Investment Ltd from proceeding with the project in Nyali leafy suburbs.

The investor has been constructing Naurus Beach Apartments, which comprises two 10 storey blocks and an 18-storey building. But the development which has been going on since June has been stopped as the row with the county and the neighborhood lands in court.

The irate workers staged demonstrations to protest against the court’s decision to stop the work after waking up to a notice of closure of the site.

“We are sad that this project has been stopped. We expected this work to cushion us against the effects of Covid-19 that left us jobless for close to six months,” the site Foreman Christopher Otieno said.

The workers claim they depended on the project to foot their bills and send their children back to school on Monday but lamented that the court failed to take into account their  interest since the order protect the interest of the rich as opposed thousands of families who are now left without a source of livelihood.

Court battle

Mombasa Resident Judge Eric Ogola has lifted an earlier order that allowed the investor to proceed with the development after it was stopped by the county administration.

“It is further hereby ordered that for purposes of good order, and for the security and preservation of the suit property, the interim conservatory orders issued herein on July 3,2020 ,allowing the petitioner to proceed with construction on the suit property is hereby lifted to enable all parties to operate on equal footing pending the determination of the issues before the court,” Justice Ogola said.

The firm is however concerned that there was no application before the court to have the orders lifted and the same was granted erroneously.

 Environmental provisions

The private developer is also engaged in a fierce battle with National Environment Management Authority and Nyali residents who are opposing the project over lack of public participation and environmental concerns.

Report indicates that the government agency is concerned with the construction of the apartments at the first row of the beach front where one is only allowed to build ground and one floor houses only.

According to Nema regulations, one is not supposed to construct less than 30 metres from the high water mark, which the developer had allegedly flouted.

The more than 20 neighbours claim they had been forced to incur medical expenses due to health hazard issues emanating from the site and that public participation was not done before the project was started.