Economy

Four lobby groups push for revocation mangrove forestland allocation

mangrove2

Part of a flourishing mangrove forest. FILE PHOTO | AFP

Four lobby groups have moved to court seeking the revocation of a 90-acre parcel of land comprising part of the protected mangrove forest in Mombasa that has allegedly been allocated to an individual.

The lobbies claim in a petition filed at the Environment and Land Court in Mombasa that fishermen use that part of the portion hived off as a landing site but that it was illegally alienated and acquired by Sahal Ahmed Dahir who transferred it to Kahia Transporters.

Commission for Human Rights and Justice, Active Environmental Team, Sheria na Haki Human Rights Institute and Port Reitz Beach Management Unit Networks claim that the land was excised out of the “foreshore” was reserved for public use and was not available for allocation.

Justice Stephen Kibunja certified the case as urgent and directed the lobbies to serve the respondents.

The case will be heard on December 14.

Mr Julius Ogogoh said the parcel was being used by villagers and fishermen in particular the members of Port Reitz Beach Management Unit as a boat landing base, and the decision to allocate it to a private entity affects them.

He said the land was not available for alienation and acquisition for private use without following the constitutional safeguards on riparian land and prohibition, without the involvement of stakeholders or public participation.

The lobbies stated that the alienation, acquisition, sell and transfer of the land was done without the knowledge of the National Land Commission as the custodian of public land in the country, as the commission is charged with the duty of land management and registration.

They said the strip of land comprises the coastal foreshore of the Indian Ocean situated at Port Reitz Creek in Mombasa, which was gazetted as a mangrove forest on May 20, 1964.

Mr Ogogoh said the notice has never been revoked.

During the formation of Beach Management Units, which were being registered and mandated to manage, conserve and protect landing sites and its environs, three units were registered.

The petition stated that the units have all along carried their mandate of managing and conserving fishermen's landing sites and protection of the environment and the entire ecosystem to protect the growth of both aquatic flora and fauna.

They claimed to have sought for clarification and resolution from both the county government of Mombasa and the national government through the office of the Mombasa County Executive Committee member in charge of Land, without success.

“Your Petitioners aver that the right of access to the ocean through the foreshore by members of the public along the coast whether for economic, recreational or aesthetic reasons, is a public right secured by a public easement,” Mr Ogogoh said.

“A declaration that the alienation of a reserve land by the fourth respondent (Director of Survey) to the first respondent (Mr Dahir) and the subsequent sell and transfer to the second respondent (Kahia Transporters) for private use was a violation of the Petitioner’s right to clean and healthy environment and equal access to public property,” the petition states.

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