Just days after President Uhuru Kenyatta launched a multimillion-shilling project to give Mama Ngina Drive a facelift, the National Land Commission (NLC) has revealed that most of the land has been grabbed.
Embattled NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri claims that 13 people have grabbed 20 acres, leaving only six for the public.
They acquired the land from 1985 to 2012.
On Monday, President Kenyatta commissioned the Sh460 million project to create a modern waterfront and directed the land commission to repossess the grabbed land.
"We are giving those people claiming to own the parcel of land time to return it. After three months, we would have repossessed all of it," said Mr Swazuri when he visited the site yesterday with Mombasa Lands minister Edward Nyale and other officials.
Dr Swazuri yesterday named seven individuals and companies among those who acquired the land illegally.
The companies are associated with former powerful politicians and tycoons operating in Mombasa.
The NLC said the 20 acres had been subdivided into 13 plots with only two having been developed.
“From our records we have seen that among the parcels only two plots number 1,018 and 408 have been developed, we are going to immediately pull the walls down. With the walls down the entire 26 acres will be available,” he said.
“I want NLC and the Ministry of Lands to ensure that when we return here to officially launch the project after construction, the public land should have been repossessed and reverted to public use,” said Mr Kenyatta During the launch which Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga attended.
The facelift is part of an ongoing project to turn the coastal city into a leading world class tourism destination.
A public square, two gateways, a Swahili cultural centre, pigeon coops, paved paths, space for restaurants, a modern market and an amphitheatre are some of the facilities set to be developed in the multi-million shilling project.
Completion of the project, which is jointly implemented by the Tourism ministry and Mombasa County government, is scheduled for May.