Construction of the Sh498 million wall to protect Fort Jesus Museum from being washed away by heavy tides from the Indian Ocean will go on after the Naltional Land acomission gave the red green light. Speaking at the site yesterday, NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri said the commission has approved the construction.
Swazuri and Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho had earlier stormed the site and ordered the National Museums of Kenya (NMK) to stop work over allegations that NMK was in the process of reclaiming two acres of ocean land, contrary to an application made to only erect a wall.
NMK National Director Mzalendo Kibunjia dismissed the claims, saying part of the space that Joho and Swazuri had claimed was being reclaimed was for purposes of putting up a cofferdam.
A cofferdam is a watertight enclosure built to allow construction work below the waterline. Swazuri’s remarks come at a time when Mombasa risks being deregistered from being a protected island by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), following massive land reclamation that has turned the coastal city into a peninsula.
Deliberate land reclamation has defaced the historical status of the island.
The commission said it will revoke all leases and allocations of private and public lands issued by county governments and other state agencies without its approval. Swazuri said the illegal leases include those issued by coastal county governments to reclaimed lands along the coastline which he termed as illegal.
NCL listed Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale and Lamu counties as notorious for reclaiming sea land without authority from the agency.