Politicians opposed to it have said it is  “theft by privatization” but Mombasa County Governor Hassan Joho says his Sh200 billion project to redevelop ten old estates in the County will go on as planned.

He says despite “opposition from some quarters”, the project is “unstoppable” and that it will benefit the affected residents some of whom have threatened to go to court to stop it.

“I assure them that they will also benefit from the project. Those who will be told to vacate as the houses are being built will have their house rent paid by the county government,” Governor Joho says.

27,000 units to be built from 3,000 units

The ambitious project will involve private developers putting up 27,000 more units from the current 3,000 units. It has faced however faced stiff opposition from a section of the current tenants and politicians who say it was not clear how the current tenants would benefit.

Leading the opposition, politician Suleiman Shahbal has labeled it “theft by privatization.” He said even though the targeted estates were rundown, a proposed face lift “should have been done in a proper manner.”

“We’re not opposed to refurbishment of the estates but then there has to be proper consultations,” he said.

Demand for Housing: 25,000 units

Governor Joho has however, maintained that the current tenants will be given the first priority to own the new apartment blocks. During a meeting with bidders and estate leaders, Joho said Mombasa’s current population of 1.3 million people requires a reorganization of housing units to accommodate the growing numbers.

The tenants will be issued with a 99-year ownership lease after completion of the mortgage, Joho said. “The current demand for housing in Mombasa stands at 25,000 units per year against an annual supply of 4,000 units,” said the governor.

Under the project, Mr Joho plans to replace the old houses in Khadija, Miritini, Changamwe, Tudor, Mzizima, Buxton, Likoni, Nyerere, Tom Mboya and Kaa Chonjo in partnership with private developers.