Poly, squatters embroiled in fierce land ownership feud

Wednesday, November 4th, 2020 00:00 |
The entrance to the Kenya Coast Polytechnic in Mombasa. Photo/PD/File

Kenya Coast National Polytechnic (KCNP) formerly Mombasa Technical Training Institute (MTTI) is embroiled in a number of land cases involving powerful individuals and neighbourhood community who are claiming ownership of parcels of land belonging to the institution.

The institution’s Chief Principal Anne Mbogo said the invasion by grabbers and squatters has plunged the college into a land crisis that has denied it room for expansion.

She said some politicians and businessmen were eyeing the institute’s land for commercial purposes.

“One of the major challenges we face here at the Kenya Coast National Polytechnic is land. Our current land here is approximately 10 acres within which the local community is also claiming ownership.

They claim that the playground belongs to them, sometimes local youths come here to just sit idle and abuse drugs,” said the principal.

The land squabbles with the community, she said, has posed a security threat to the college adding that at times locals barge into the compound demanding access to use the field at odd hours.

“Sometimes there are confrontations between the students and members of the community as either of them want to use the field.

The field is a shared facility between the college and schools that are adjacent.

Whenever they have co-curricular activities we normally have a schedule on how to share the field.

Now if we accommodate the community it becomes a big problem,” Mbogo said.

According to Mbogo, the school sourced an additional land for expansion in the Shanzu area but they are unable to develop it further because grabbers have invaded it.

She said the grabbers have allowed squatters to occupy the land making it difficult for the college to utilize the said land.

“One of the challenges is evicting those squatters because they are backed by influential people.

We really want them to release the land to allow us to decongest this main campus but it has been a challenge,” she said while appealing to the government to assist them secure the land.

The row over a 26-acre piece of land belonging to Kenya Coast National Polytechnic has refused to go away for decades now despite promises by successive education CS to resolve the matter.

Squatters occupying the land have adamantly declined to vacate claiming to be the rightful owners of the land.

When she presided over a graduation ceremony at the institute in 2010, the then acting Minister for Higher Education Hellen Sambili and her Tourism counterpart Najib Balala promised to reclaim the land for the expansion of the MTTI. 

“I am going to do what I can to ensure this institution does not lose the land for expansion,” Prof Sambili said then

Similarly during the 2017 graduation ceremony, the then Education Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i assured that the government will reclaim the seaside prime land belonging to the institution.

Matiang’i, promised that his ministry and that of Interior will ensure the land in the Shanzu suburb area belonging Kenya Coast National Polytechnic (KCNP), formerly Mombasa Technical Training Institute (MTTI) is repossessed.

“The land you have in Shanzu belongs to you and I understand from my colleagues in the ministry of lands and the National Land Commission that all the documentation and paperwork for the land is fine, I am going to work with Mombasa County Commissioner and (then) Regional Coordinator Mr (Nelson) Marwa to ensure that those people who are sited on that land are evicted.

We will do what we must do as a government because they are not poor people who need the land, they are rich people who are trying to misuse public resources…” said Matiang’i.

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