Investors fault Mombasa’s new master plan

A proposal by the Mombasa County government to draw a new master plan for the city has sparked outrage among business people.

The local branch of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry has threatened to move to court to stop the Sh120 million Japanese-funded project, saying it would hurt investment. They also want wide consultations.

James Mureu, the branch chairman, accused the county government of excluding stakeholders from formulating the master plan.

Land and Housing executive Francis Thoya on Thursday said the county was working on a 50-year new master plan.

Mr Thoya said the county had frozen construction of storey buildings, the issuance of new licences and renewal of old ones as well as change-of- user permission until the new plan was in place.


He promised that stakeholders will have a say from next month.

“We shall from February start visiting people to get their views before we come up with the final draft.”

The new Plan that will be funded through a Sh120 million grant from Japan is expected to take between one-and-a-half and three years.

But the business community says the “abrupt” plan will scare away investors, some having buildings half way done.

“The buildings were approved by the same county government and telling investors to stop them will affect their time frame. This is tantamount to freezing assets,” said Mr Mureu.

Freezing construction will see buildings rise only upto three storeys in areas like Kizingo and Nyali where builders have flouted the earlier plan and constructed buildings upto 12 floors.

“The 1976 McLaughlin Plan, was done by the colonialists to cater for a population of only 300,000 and set to last for 30 years. Today, the population of Mombasa is more than 1.2 million and the outdated plan has outlived its lifespan by 80 years,” he said.

According to the old plan, certain areas were set aside for specific projects: agriculture for Shanzu, Utange, Mwakirunge, industrial zone for Miritini, Changamwe and parts of mainland West and transport for the Central Business District.

“Today, all these areas have been converted to informal settlements. New unplanned settlements are coming up every day... which is a disaster in waiting,” said Mr Thoya.

Mr Mureu blamed the county government administration for “habitually waking up and announcing new things without planning. They should learn to aim before shooting”.
He said the business people were “grouping and will definitely move to court to stop all these plans.”