About two years ago, the area MP through the Constituency Development Fund made a call to build a community centre with a fire station and community hall. The project was completed without the approval and/or the knowledge of the community.
The centre was later left unattended and thereafter handed over to the son of a former politician from the area under unclear circumstances. The said individual was supposed to manage it and earn resultant income, actions which were a clear affront to the rights of the local community.
The defunct Kwale Municipal Council also allocated land that was adjacent to the community centre to a private developer. The developer intended to build a petrol station on that plot in the Shika Adabu area.
Even though the community tried to engage the area Member of Parliament and the defunct Kwale Municipal Council to address the issue its queries went unattended until April 2013 when TI-Kenya’s Advocacy and Legal Advisory Centre (ALAC) in Mombasa organised a training forum in the area on civilian oversight.
Following the public forum, members of the local community got interested in the civilian oversight concept and requested ALAC to support them in drawing up a petition to be submitted to the county government and the Constituency Development Fund committee.
Through ALAC Mombasa, TI- Kenya assisted the community to develop a petition. It was drafted by an advocate in Mombasa as a hybrid petition that could be presented as an administrative petition or as a constitutional petition before the High Court of Kenya.
The community presented the petition to the then newly established County Government of Kwale and local Constituency Development Fund (CDF) committee.
The CDF committee which had been newly installed directed that the community centre be handed over to the residents of the area, to be managed by the community and all the proceeds of the centre would be used to maintain the centre and bring development to the community.
The county government also revoked the allocation of the land to the private developer. With the assistance of the provincial administration, the developer was requested to move his equipment. The land remains free to date while the community still manages the centre.
However there is need to secure the two public amenities by securing titles for them as community land. The ALAC Mombasa office has so far helped the community to develop and present a petition to the National Land Commission seeking formal allocation of the land as community land. However, the process is hindered as the Community Land Bill has not yet been enacted to provide a legal framework for the process.