Owners of illegal structures erected on government estates in the coastal city of Mombasa have been given notice to pull them down or brace for demolition in two months’ time.
Members of the Mombasa Housing Committee who toured several government estates were shocked to find the extent of the rot as some estates resembled informal settlements.
The committee under the leadership of the area County Commissioner (CC) John Otieno found some residential houses turned into business premises in complete disregard of the rules regulating government estates.
“We have come face to face with mushrooming unauthorised structures that exist in government estates and it’s a situation that we cannot allow to continue,” Otieno said, adding that owners of unauthorised structures including civil servants have 60 days to remove them or face demolition.
Besides mabati rental houses constructed within government quarters, other illegal structures include workshops, garages, diesel retailing outlets, shops and an abattoir.
Otieno said the illegal trades were denying the government much needed revenue as they are not licensed, pose threat to security and also create grounds for greedy individuals to grab government land.
Last week, during its inaugural meeting, the cautioned civil servants occupying government estates against engaging in illegal activities.
The committee sounded the alarm that some of the tenants were going against the Government Estates tenancy rules and that occupants were engaged in illegal activities such as drug running.
“We will not allow government houses to be reduced into illegal business structures, drug dens and criminal hideouts,” the County Commissioner said.
The Administrator also warned about eviction to those subletting government houses to other individuals whether government employees or otherwise.
“It is not fair for some civil servants to abuse the privilege of living in government quarters while other deserving public officers rent houses at market rate,” Mr. Otieno said.
The County Commissioner directed the Department of Housing to undertake a full inventory of all government houses and a census of occupants.
At the same time, Otieno said the government is keen to address the housing needs of urban dwellers by funding various affordable housing projects across the country.
He urged civil servants to take advantage of the Housing Scheme Fund (CSHSF) that was established to help those earning a modest income to own affordable and decent homes.
By Mohamed Hassan and Fatuma Said