In Summary
  • The National Museums of Kenya had applied to build a sea wall to prevent the se water from damaging Fort Jesus.
  • But Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri said the NMK is reclaiming two acres of the sea, and they demanded that the construction be stopped.
  • But NMK Director-General Mzalendo Kibunjia

Leading conservationist Dr Richard Leakey has praised Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and National Land Commission boss Muhammad Swazuri for stopping the building of a sea wall in the Indian Ocean.

Dr Leakey, the and Kenya Wildlife Service chairman, said the land fill in front of Fort Jesus, being done by the National Museums of Kenya, was wrong.

HERITAGE

“It is sad that this project has gone as far as it has and indicates that both the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the National Museums of Kenya are totally failing in their mandate and must be held to account by our government,” he said in a statement.

Ironically, NMK, which is supposed to be custodian of Kenya’s heritage, has vowed to go on with the reclamation of the sea despite Mr Joho and Prof Swazuri storming the site of the Sh498 million project last Thursday and ordering that the project be stopped.

NMK had applied to build a wall to prevent the sea water from destroying the foundation of Fort Jesus.

Already, the United Nations has warned that Mombasa could be delisted as an island due to reclamation of the sea.

Fort Jesus.

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho with National Lands Commission chairman Muhammad Swazuri at the Fort Jesus sea front where they stopped the construction of a sea wall on January 12, 2018. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

ENCROACH

According to Mr Joho, the wall being done by NMK encroaches into about two acres of the ocean and has also blocked a public path to the sea.

Mr Joho and Prof Swazuri said NMK was reclaiming a two-acre parcel against an application it made to erect the wall.

But on Friday, NMK Director-General Mzalendo Kibunjia said the construction will go on according to plan.

Prof Kibunjia explained that part of the space that Mr Joho had indicated was being reclaimed would be used to put up a cofferdam.

A cofferdam is the watertight enclosure which is built to allow construction work below the waterline, as when building bridges.

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