Joho faces arrest over Ksh.6 Billion affordable housing project
Drama revolving around the Ksh.6 billion Buxton affordable housing project has taken another twist after the Senate Committee on Roads and Transportation gave Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho a 14-day ultimatum to appear and respond to the grievances raised by the evicted tenants of or he face severe consequences.
The directive follows Governor Joho’s failure to appear before the Committee’s scheduled sitting held on Thursday at the Mombasa County Assembly.
The Committee rejected the presentation by the Acting County Secretary Job Tumbo, Lands and planning Chief Officer Dr June Mwajuma and Director Kibibi Abdallah who had been sent to represent the governor.
Should he fail to show up for the next inquiry, the Mombasa county boss risks paying a fine of Ksh. 500,000, an arrest and prosecution in accordance with the constitution and the parliamentary rules.
“If you push us then we will apply the law and so to the question of the fine and whether the Governor wishes the committee to pronounce itself on his arrest we shall rule as a committee that he has to appear within those 14 days the absence to which we shall invoke section 19 of the powers and privileges Act to its fullest,” said Senator Kimani Wamatangi.
Representing the tenants at the meeting, Buxton Residents Association deputy Secretary General John Tsuma told the Committee there was no public participation held with residents on the project before they were evicted and their homes demolished.
According to documents presented to the committee, the property is on government land which was leased to the municipal council of Mombasa
The Buxton estate was meant for low-income earners paying rent of between Ksh2, 800 and Ksh3, 700. However, they are now being forced to pay at least Ksh.1.8 million per unit for the new houses.
“One bedroom is now costing Ksh.1.8 million, two bedrooms are Ksh.3 million, and four bedrooms are Ksh4.2 million.
This is now for the former tenants which was just far too much given that the government has given subsidies of land, giving it as a safety net where now the construction will be cheaper,” said Tsuma.
The Committee further directed both the County government and developer, Buxton Point Ltd to provide all the necessary documentation regarding the projects within the two weeks.
On his part, the Mombasa County Senator said there’s a need for all the parties involved to provide documents supporting their claims for faster resolution of the issues.
“What documents do you have to show that whatever is being done there’s an agreement that whatever is Buxton Point Ltd with the county government of Mombasa so that we know what are your rights and that are the rights of the county government so that in the event there’s a dispute you’re protected by that agreement and also the county government is also protected,” said Faki.
Among the documents needed include Buxton estate original title deed, and other ownership documents, project tendering committee report and its minutes, the county Executive Committee project approval report, tender advertisement and project concession agreement with a private developer.
The Wamatangi-led Committee has stopped all the activities in the construction site until all the parties involved come to an agreement that is beneficial to all.