Malindi residents plea over land grab
05 July 2013, 12:17
The Malindi Local Urban Forum (MLUF) has appealed to the government to return all the public beaches and land irregularly allocated to individuals in the Kilifi County to the public.
Such land included public beaches, gardens, cemeteries, football ground and blocked beach access roads next to shoreline hotels, villas and cottages.
In a statement issued by the forum members at their offices at the Malindi Municipal Council Yard, the secretary of the MLUF Kashero Chinyanga said that the takeover of public land by investors compromised access to leisure and other social enjoyments to the public.
“The most unfortunate thing is that most of the areas earlier set up for leisure on the beach have today been taken over by foreign investors who have tourist resorts there” said Chinyanga.
He said that although the sacrifice to forfeit such land by the investors in tourism who had invested hundreds of millions of shillings back to the people was too big, the price was worth being paid.
Chinyanga noted that Malindi has some of the worst incidents of land grabbing of public beaches, gardens, cemeteries and beach access road in the entire Kilifi County.
Mambrui, Malindi, Mayungu, Watamu and Temple public beaches have within the last 20 years been taken over by foreign investors.
Chinyanga added that unless the public beaches including the Malindi Silversands and the Bell House gardens were repossessed and return to the public, Malindi residents and especially the youth will continue to lack areas for leisure.
The forum, was concerned that past governments had continually ignored calls to have the public beaches through which ordinary Kenyans accessed the beach repossessed. This has led to conflict between the investors and the residents.
Malindi, today lacks a public stadium and a Christian cemetery after influential individuals in the past government alienated the land and even sold the same to investors. The worst affected section of the Malindi public affected by land grabbing, the secretary said was the Christian community whose Bell House Gardens and the Christian cemetery was irregularly taken over and villas and cottages built there.
A member of the St Andrews ACK church development committee Godfrey Karume who led the faithful in fighting for the gardens and cemetery lamented that due to the takeover of the land , today the dead were being buried on the Christian cemetery’s access road and road reserves.
He however insisted that some of the land taken over by the foreign investors next to the Christian cemetery remained empty despite having been fenced because owners claimed they were being haunted by ghosts. He suggested that the government moves in to repossess the land and stop further development or else Christians will in future have no place to bury their dead.
Karume warned that continued grabbing of public beach plots, gardens and playing grounds would compromise access to leisure areas among the youth at a time when abuse of narcotic drugs brought about by idleness was on the increase in Malindi, Watamu and Mambrui tourist resorts.
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