More than 3,000 fishermen from four Beach Management Units (BMUs) in Mombasa County’s Tsunza village are demanding a share of the compensation package for the Sh24 billion Dongo Kundu bypass.
The fishermen, most of whom rely on the Mwache and Mteza creeks of the Indian ocean for their catch, said the project will displace them from their only source of income and should be compensated.
In an interview with Shipping at Tsunza Central BMU landing site, the fishermen said they have been shortchanged in the compensation plans and want the government to honour the earlier agreement to pay them.
William Chaka, chairperson Tsunza Central BMU said the government through its agencies ought to ensure that fishermen are included “in all stages of the compensation package”.
"We are not opposed to the project that will open up the village and spur economic growth but we want to be compensated for this massive project which will alter the lives of locals," he said, adding that fish breeding zones will be affected as mangroves will be brought down to pave for the construction of the road.
Mr Chaka said once the project starts, the traditional fishing waters at Mwache and Mteza creek will be closed displacing a significant number of fishermend. "We will put up a spirited a fight to ensure we are compensated for the looming loss of our livelihoods," he said.
Guya BMU vice chairperson Mr Mbaruk Baushi said apart from the monetary compensation, they want the government to provide all the affected fishermen with the necessary skills and equipment that will enable them to conduct fishing in the deep sea.
"It will be difficult to venture into fishing in the deep seas with simple fishing gears we have and this is the reason we want monetary compensation and modern equipment," he said. Mavune Swalehe, 45, a fisherman said their trade has been greatly affected by the ongoing dredging at the Port of Mombasa and the construction of the bypass.