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Mombasa County to appeal ruling on beach operators

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In a Notice of Appeal filed in court, the county government says it intends to move to the Court of Appeal against the decision. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • The county government of Mombasa intends to file an appeal against a High Court decision directing it to pay beach operators who were violently evicted from Jomo Kenyatta public beach Sh25million in damages.
  • In a Notice of Appeal filed in court, the county government says it intends to move to the Court of Appeal against the decision.

The county government of Mombasa intends to file an appeal against a High Court decision directing it to pay beach operators who were violently evicted from Jomo Kenyatta public beach Sh25million in damages.

In a Notice of Appeal filed in court, the county government says it intends to move to the Court of Appeal against the decision.

“The first respondent (county government) being dissatisfied with the judgment and orders of Justice Eric Ogola, intends to appeal to the Court of Appeal against the whole of the judgment,” part of the notice of appeal states.

The beach operators comprising of fishermen, beach tube renters and photographers, beach community traders and recreational boat owners had been evicted from the beach in 2018 by county askaris.

Justice Ogola ruled that the beach operators' rights were violated when the county askaris destroyed their property before evicting them from the public beach.

The judge noted that even though their operational licenses had expired, there was no law in the country allowing violent eviction of people from whose occupational permit have expired.

“I award a total of Sh25million compensation for violent eviction of the beach operators in violation of their administrative action rights and for unwarranted violence meted on them during the said eviction," said Justice Ogola.

He noted that the compensation awarded was to send a message to government agencies, who carry out unwarranted, ill-conceived and violent evictions where citizens suffer losses that their unlawful actions shall be heavily punished wherever proved.

North Coast beach management committee had filed the case against the county on behalf of its 400 members who suffered losses during the evictions after their property valued at more than Sh27million was destroyed by the county askaris.

The beach operators moved to court to protest demolition of their facilities erected along the beaches and alleged constant harassment by county askaris.

The petitioners asked the court to restrain the devolved unit, its agents or employees from unlawfully violating their use and occupation of the beach.

They argued that they were duly licensed by relevant government authorities to carry out business and recreational activities.

The beach operators claimed that on diverse dates between October and December 2018, the county askaris violently raided and attacked beach operators who were lawfully carrying out their duties at the beach.

The petitioners argued the county acted in a manner that was unfair, oppressive, unreasonable and prejudicial to its members' rights, terming the violent action an epitome of procedural impropriety and uncalled for.