Cabinet secretaries to mediate disputes in Coast projects

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i (right) and his Transport counterpart James Macharia (left) at a press conference in Mombasa on April 7, 2022.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit I Nation Media Group

The government will prioritise alternative means of resolving disputes that have stalled key development projects in the Coast region after disgruntled stakeholders moved to court.

Cabinet Secretaries to mediate disputes in Coast projects

Key government departments have begun an out-of-court process to save time and money so as to ensure President Uhuru Kenyatta’s legacy projects are completed before he leaves office.

Officials say two major projects – the Sh8.5 billion Mombasa-Kwa Jomvu road and the Sh4.5 billion Makupa bridge – have stalled at 97 percent and 90 percent respectively because of compensation demands filed in court.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i and his Transport counterpart James Macharia said they are leading the National Land

Commission, Kenya National Highways Authority and other agencies in negotiations with contractors and entities displaced by wayleaves for priority projects.

They spoke in Mombasa after starting talks between the government and affected residents in the dualling of the Mombasa-Mariakani highway that has been dogged by court cases over compensation for land.

The two CSs expressed optimism that the dispute would be resolved in the next coming days.

At least eight cases on the Mombasa-Kwa Jomvu road have been filed by entities unhappy with the compensation offered for land compulsorily acquired for the road and are at various stages of litigation.

“We want to encourage others who are in similar situations involving big projects that this is the way to go because we end up losing so much money,” Dr Mantiang’i said. 

“Ultimately, when these projects stall due to the court process, we have to pay up a lot of money in compensation for lost time.”

He added: “Although it was within the rights of individuals and private firms unhappy with the compensation amounts to go to court, alternative dispute resolution mechanisms offered worked better for both litigants and plaintiffs as it also helped manage relationships between the parties.”

The 12km road, initially scheduled to be completed in October last year, is 97 percent complete.

It stalled at the 300-metre interchange section over disputes on the market value of the affected land.

The dispute has also affected the relocation of essential services such as water and sewer lines.

The stalemate forced a freeze on the second phase of the project, including the dualling of the Sh15.3 billion Kwa Jomvu-Mariakani section that was to be funded by the European Union.

CS Macharia said the compensation issues involved several ministries and hence the need to assemble a ministerial team to seek solutions.

Several other court cases on major development projects funded by the government are also in court across the country.

In some cases, firms have taken the government to court after it cancelled their contracts due to missed timelines or shoddy work.

Since 2013, the government has invested more than Sh1.4 trillion on projects in the Coast region that are meant to boost trade and tourism and create job opportunities.
 
Utility box 

Some of the projects undertaken since 2013 

Likoni footbridge: Sh1.9 billion; complete 

11km Kipevu-Miritini-Dongo Kundu road, phase 1; Sh11 billion; complete 

Mombasa city centre-Jomvu; 6.5 billion; complete. 

28km Dongo Kundu road, phase 2 and 3, connecting Miritini and Kwale County; two bridges; Sh28 billion; 75 per cent complete. 

Sh4.5 billion Makupa Causeway bridge; commissioned in December. 

13.5km Mombasa-Mtwapa highway; December 2019; African Development Bank approved a Sh38.4 billion financing package for the project, a few months after the European Union contributed a grant of Sh3.3 billion. 

Mombasa Gate Bridge; Sh43.4 billion loan from Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica); at feasibility study stage. 

Dualling of the 40.4km Mtwapa-Kwa Kadzengo-Kilifi section; at feasibility study stage. 

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