I am sure many of you woke up to demolition of Buxton Estate Mombasa
I recall with nostalgia visiting my Aunty as a young boy in the early 80’s and the place looked really nice.
Fast forward, due to lack of maintenance the place went to the dogs and it was condemned a couple of years ago. Leaking roofs cracked walls , broken down sewer system exposed electricals the place was no longer safe for human habitation.
Fact: Mombasa county like many other counties does not have the financial power to set up new housing and a developer made a proposal and as usual we went to court and for the past several years the matter has dragged on in court until a ruling a couple of days
Firstly let’s address a few facts which they good judge also captured in his ruling.
These apartments belong to the county of Mombasa formerly Mombasa Municipal Council. You live there as a tenant and due to the low rent paid it was next to impossible to maintain the place. It is also a fact that real tenants moved out many moons away and rented them to 3rd parties who in turn were paying them a higher rent compared to what they were paying the county.
Fact: As a tenant , long occupation of an apartment does not turn you into an owner. If that was case many would be owners. You still remain a tenant and the day the owner wants his place you are given notice and you move out without drama.
Now Buxton is prime land in the heart of Mombasa. Please keep in mind that Mombasa is an island hence the only way is vertical hence urban housing upgrade must consider that.
The planned Buxton point will change the face of Mombasa and also show us the way on how to partner with private sector to create low cost housing. We have very many such estates across Kenya be it Mombasa . Nairobi. Nyeri
Nakuru. Kisumu etc.
To Buxton tenants you got an opportunity to live in Buxton then you were one of the lucky few who lived well in the heart of Mombasa without breaking the bank.
Many of us lived in homes without water or electricity and we all made efforts to better our lives.
In life everything has a beginning and it has an end ….kilicho na mwanzo hakikosi kuwa na mwisho.
I must congratulate two archrivals politically who puts side their political differences Governor Hon. Ali Hassan Joho and Suleiman Shahbal and agreed to progress this project.
The said apartments are not anywhere near market rate with a nice 2 bed rooms going for Ksh 3M while 3 Bed rooms going for Ksh 4.2M. If the developer was to buy the land then a 3 bedroom would be anything above Ksh 16M or even more since these is a decent low rise. It is not one of those ugly 15 storey building. If the price was to go that high then the price would shift to commercial rate making nonsense of the low coast housing.
It is also interesting to note that current occupants are each given Ksh 240,000 to help them move out and they also get first refusal option to buy an apartment while units would increase four fold allowing many more Mombasa residents a chance to live in a decent housing without breaking the bank.
In my opinion this could be the beginning of ways and means of fixing old dilapidated council houses across Kenya . As a Mombasa resident I render my full support to this project. We admire other countries but they all took painful decisions to better themselves.
When Nakumatt Thika road was brought down to pave way for Thika highway we all cried and cursed but today no one remembers that. We now have a 5 lane highway which has inspired the rest of Kenya and the region.
May Buxton Point be the Thika super highway project to inspire others in urban public housing upgrade.
Many are asking why did they move so fast to demolish ……while I also feel sorry for the tenants I am sure both the county and the investors are avoiding another case being filed which means further delays besides the writing has all along been on the wall. It was only a matter of when not even Buxton would come down.
Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore did the same thing and today we all admire Singapore.
Mombasa politicians, please dont politic . It’s now over. Let the project begin and the same should happen across Tudor , Makande , Mbaraki, et al
As always I choose to remain am optimist, may the project begin.