On 7th March, the Buxton evictees, Haki Yetu and other concerned citizens gathered at Pembe za Ndovu along Moi Avenue to mark a 2-year anniversary not only to remember the events of 5th March 2021 but to also serve as a stark reminder that two years later, the County government has shown no political will to provide adequate housing.
On the same day of eviction, the former tenants were coerced by the private investor to sign a cheque and an agreement that was supposed to guarantee their return to an estate that they have called home for over fifty years. They had no idea where and how they would start a new life.
Defending our cause and defying the police directive against the demonstration, we marched to the offices of the leaders to demand audience that we requested for the past two years.
It was also a day to express our dissatisfaction over the manner in which the Urban Renewal and Regeneration Program of Mombasa is being implemented because it is not intended to support the majority urban poor who are in dire need of affordable and decent housing.
We thus demanded that the County Government of Mombasa should stop interfering with the remaining old estates sitting on public land until the urban renewal project is revisited with the aim of serving public interest and not the interests of a few individuals.
The demo was also meant to exert pressure on the Senate Committee on Roads, Transport and Housing to finalize Buxton investigations. We highlighted on the preliminary investigations by the Senate Committee on Roads, Transport and Housing under the former chairmanship of Kimani Wamatangi. The investigations were never concluded and this prompted us to refile the petition to have the matter concluded in a bid to help the evictees secure the modern units through the Tenant Purchase Scheme as was promised by the County Government of Mombasa and the private investor. The petition was considered and committed to the same committee under the chairmanship of Senator Karungo wa Thang‘wa.
“That we wish to therefore plea to the new Senate Committee to have the matter finalized expeditiously as the project is almost on its completion stage with the second phase scheduled to be launched soon where the Buxton tenants were promised right of first refusal.” The petition read.
After our fruitful advocacy to get audience, the committee wrote to the Buxton evictees in order to hear the petition that was heard on 15th March 2023.
Later on, the committee summoned the governor of Mombasa Abdulswamad Nassir, Lands and Housing Cabinet Secretary Zachary Njeru, Principal Secretary Lands and Housing Nikon Korir and the developer to shed light on the Buxton housing project and how the evictees will own the modern houses.
Haki Yetu will continue contesting the legality and constitutionality of the Mombasa Urban Renewal and Regeneration Project for as long as it does not conform to the national values and principles of governance enshrined in the Constitution.