More than 50 families living near Moi International Airport in Mombasa are up in arms accusing managers of the facility of destroying their crops.
The farmers said their plantations including coconuts, bananas, cassava, sugarcane, guava, pawpaw, mangoes, cashew-nuts and passions, had been destroyed by the ongoing airport repairs.
“Our crops on the parcel of land were destroyed when a bulldozer descended on our crops without notice. A total of 57 families were affected on the borders of Miritini ward near the airport,” said Mwaruwa Kijimbi, a resident.
He said they are not disputing that the land belongs to KAA, noting that they ought to have been informed of any forthcoming development projects.
However, Moi International Airport manager Peter Wafula said no crops outside the airport were destroyed by the rehabilitation works at the facility.
“We are working within Kenya Airports Authority boundaries, there are no evictions. If you were grazing your cows inside the airport then we stop you, are we really evicting anybody?” posed Mr Wafula.
“We are not expanding. If we were, we would have acquired land. We are very humane and what we are doing is for the public and the country’s good."
The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), Mr Wafula said is also constructing a boundary fence in Diani to keep off encroachment of the airport.
The residents had also raised concerns that some of their houses will be affected by the developments.
Mr Wafula said only a pedestrian pathway will be affected, but the issue will be addressed by building a road before the airstrip is fenced.
The Diani airstrip is the main aviation link of Diani resort town to the rest of the country and preferred takeoff point for tourists going on safari using light aircraft which help to avoid traffic at the Likoni crossing channel.
“Diani is not fenced entirely. We are also fencing Moi International Airport. We are not disturbing anybody,” he added.