Squatters protest as KPA rolls out luxury hotel plan

Hundreds of families in Kiruwitu, Kilifi County, face eviction after a parastatal announced plans to put up a multi-million shilling hotel and sports facility on land they occupy.

The move places the villagers, who insist they inherited the land from their ancestors, on a collision course with Kenya Ports Authority, which says it owns the property.

On Monday, angry residents carrying twigs demonstrated against the parastatal’s plan to displace them from their homes and termed the act of acquiring the land unfair.

Led by the Takaungu–Shauri Moyo councillor, Mr Geoffrey Kahindi, the residents vowed not to surrender the land they claimed to have inherited from their forefathers.

Mr Kahindi claimed the residents had put up permanent houses and had no other home. He said they were opposed to the KPA investment plan.

“We want to tell the Lands Minister that the residents are suffering and his intervention will save the people from losing their property,” he said.

Mr Kahindi said it was time for the government to start implementing the Constitution and issue land titles to the 3,000 residents instead of frustrating them.

“We are under a new constitutional dispensation, and as Kenyans, we have a right to own land. Why then after decades, is KPA coming in to develop the land?” he asked.

Takaungu youth leader Mwavita Piri said they learned that the residents were not the bona fide owners of the land through an advertisement in the Daily Nation dated June 14.

“We were surprised to see that KPA was inviting Expression of Interest from interested investors for development of the land on which our ancestors are buried,” he said.

In the advertisement, KPA’s procurement and supplies manager, Mr Yobesh Oyaro, said the authority intends to develop the prime 350 acres in Kiruwitu in the outskirts of Mombasa Town.

KPA was, therefore, inviting expression of interest from investors in consortia to design, build, operate and transfer the entire project.

Also the investors would be required to manage or operate the proposed development, brand and market the development internationally.

The planned development would have a 4-star hotel, conference and exhibition centre, luxury residential accommodation, luxury apartments and world class sporting facilities.

“These would include an athletic stadium with warm up fields, aquatic class facilities. Athletes accommodation and conference centre,” the advert stated, adding that the stadium should have a capacity of about 40,000 to 60,000 spectators.

Further, it stated that the authority shall grant a lease or licence to operate the facilities for a minimum period of 25 years.

The completed expression of interest documents must be submitted to the authority not later than July 12, according to the advertisement.

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