By PHILIP MUYANGA-DAILY NATION
Residents of the Bangladesh informal settlement and Mikindani, among them three Catholic priests, have sued the county government of Mombasa and a roads agency over the construction of a road passing through their homes.Fathers Gabriel Dolan, Peter Finegun, Raphael Mwenda and 21 residents claim the decision to destroy their houses and construct the road is oppressive and unfair.According to the suit papers, they risk substantial loss of their assets, are suffering an infringement of their rights to a livelihood where they have rented their houses, and the damage caused by the project runs into millions of shillings.
They are seeking a declaration that the respondents must adhere to the principles of participation and inclusivity before the Bangladesh-Mikindani Runyu Road project can be implemented.The petitioners, who have also sued the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), are also seeking an order stopping the project until the respondents adhere to the law.
They are also seeking an order that the respondents cannot demolish their property arbitrarily without regard to the Compulsory Acquisition Act and without compensating them.The residents argue that the road project cut through their homes, work premises and social amenities.In his supporting affidavit, Henry Amwayi states that the risk of their houses and environment being damaged is imminent.Mr Amwayi further says that St Patrick’s Missionary Society, which is run by the three priests, has property valued at Sh25 million in the informal settlement which the respondents are threatening to demolish
“There has not been consultation done about the project and neither has the damage caused to the petitioners by the project been taken into account,” said Mr Amwayi.Mr Amwayi stated that in March 2015, Mombasa governor Hassan Joho went to the informal settlement for a political rally and announced that the project would be implemented.“The so called meeting was a sham merely meant to sanitise an unlawful process and a pre-determined position of the county government,” said Mr Amwayi, adding that events prior to and during the meeting did not create an atmosphere that would facilitate any meaningful debat.The petitioners claim that the respondents have threatened to demolish Bangladesh Catholic Parish, a clinic, a maternity facility, a nursery school, a community social hall, residential houses and gabions that protect the environment.
“The respondents in abuse of the mandate given to them by citizens, among them the petitioners, have turned to intimidation and blackmail against any citizen with an independent opinion on the project,” said Mr Amwayi.According to the petitioners, their right to information pertaining to the project has been violated as the project is being implemented in an opaque manner.The petition will be heard inter parties on May 21.