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Fishermen demand compensation over Kibarani sea reclamation

The over 200 fishermen under the Wavuvi Association of Kenya, used to get between 50 kilos to 100 kilos of fish per day/FILE

Mombasa, Kenya, Aug 1 – Mombasa fishermen want the government to force developers who reclaimed part of the Tudor-Shimanzi creek at Kibarani to compensate them.

According to the fishermen, the reclamation destroyed their fish landing sites.

The over 200 fishermen under the Wavuvi Association of Kenya, used to get between 50 kilos to 100 kilos of fish per day.

However, the reclamation of land at Kibarani destroyed the mangroves which were the breeding ground for fish and in the long end, the fishermen are now going home with less than 2kg of fish.

Some transport and logistics companies are accused of reclaiming the part of the ocean at Kibarani and are now claiming ownership of that area.

Hamad Omar, the chairperson of Wavuvi Association of Kenya, said they had four fish landing sites around the Kibarani area, but they lost the sites due to reclamation of the creek.

“We used to have about four fish landing sites along this channel, which are over 100 years old, but due to the reclamation and the dumping of garbage into the ocean, we lost them. We also lost the mangroves which are good breeding grounds for fish,” said Omar.

He said they had tried to raise complaints with the Fisheries Department and National Environment Management Authority, but the issues were never addressed.

“We are now grateful that President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered the revocation of the title deeds of these parcels of land. We are now asking the President to force the companies that destroyed our fishing grounds to compensate us for the loss,” he said.

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Another member of the group, Hajj Ramadhan, said many fishermen have not been able to take their children to school due to poverty.

“We cannot take care of our families because our places of work were destroyed by these private developers. We now want the National Government and the County Government to force these companies to compensate us for the loss,” he said.

On Monday, President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the National Land Commission chair, Professor Muhammad Swazuri to revoke the title deeds of the said companies and hand over the land back to the County Government of Mombasa.

Mombasa County wants to put up a green park in the area.

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