State orders squatters to vacate land for Malindi airport expansion
By Ronald Mwadzombo
The government has ordered squatters on land earmarked for the expansion of Malindi International Airport to vacate immediately or face forcible eviction.
Kilifi County Commissioner Magu Mutindika said despite the government spending Sh418 million to compensate the squatters, many of them are still occupying in the area.
“We are telling those who have been paid to move out so that the government can develop the land. Those who will defy this order will be ejected,” said Mutindika on Wednesday when he led members of the County Development Implementation and Coordination Committee (CDICC) on a tour of development projects undertaken by the government at the facility.
At the same time, the commissioner asked Kilifi County government not to approve any construction on the land so the government does not incur more costs as it seeks to acquire more land for the project.
He said constructing buildings adjacent to the airport was a security threat and should be stopped.
However, it emerged that the land in question belongs to private individuals and the government would, in the second phase of the project, have to negotiate with the land owners before expanding the airport.
Airport manager Jumaa Karama said the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) was in the process of engaging a consultant, who will advise the authority on the resettlement plan for squatters within the 130-hectare piece of land required to extend the airport’s runway from 1.4 kilometres to 2.5.
He said there were squatters living on KAA flight path, who will also be compensated following a court order.
“We had ordered them out of the land but they took KAA to court, which ordered that we compensate them. We are in the process of verifying them before we can start the pay-outs,” he said.
Kilifi National Land Coordinator Umi Kugula said private owners whose land would be taken over for the airport’s expansion would be compensated after verification of their ownership documents.
“It is not enough for people to have title deeds. We will have to see if those titles are genuine,” she said.
The coordinator warned that government land that had been leased out to lessees, who had failed to utilise it, would be reverted to the government.