Mombasa-Mariakani road project, Kenya
Locals affected by the road project are facing forceful eviction and have not been properly consulted or compensated. The project promoter reacts to criticism with intimidation.
We closely follow international public finance and bring critical updates from the ground.
Key factsProject costs: EUR 250 million Scope: expanding current road by 60 metres to 4-6 lanes Rationale: up to 3-5 hours transit during peak hours Implementation timeline: 2015 to 2020 Financiers:
- African Development Bank – EUR 123 million for Lot 1: Mombasa-Kwa Jomvu (11.4 km)
- Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW, German Development Bank) – EUR 50 million for Lot 2: Kwa Jomvu-Mariakani (30.3 km)
- European Investment Bank (EIB) – EUR 50 million for Lot 2
- Others – EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund* (EUR 20 million), Government of Kenya
Forced and unlawful evictions in Jomvu area that took place in 2015 have led to a mediation process covering more than 300 affected people. The losses were eventually compensated, but some claim that the mediators did not assess them properly. More >>
Forced evictions are not allowed by the lenders’ own standards, but continue to take place . More >>
Human Rights Defenders from the area testified that in 2017 they have been intimidated by local authorities for contacting the lenders. Later, it turned out that the lenders disclosed their identities to the promoter (a public company), which could cause the intimidation. More >>
People in different construction areas face forced evictions or the imminent threat of losing their business properties and trees, and living in fear and uncertainty. More complaints are submitted to the financiers and the project grievance mechanism. More >>
The Government of Kenya, through the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) plans the rehabilitation and expansion of 41.7 km road between Mombasa and Mariakani in Eastern Kenya, which forms part of the Northern Road Corridor.
This almost 2,000 km long Corridor connects the Port of Mombasa directly to the landlocked countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and forms an essential connection to South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and parts of northern Tanzania.
The project will impact homes, businesses and farms along the 41.7 kilometre stretch.
Forced evictions in Jomvu, May 2015
Large tracts of land in Mombasa County are occupied by people who do not have a legally recognised right to the land. Parts of two of the many informal settlements, Jomvu and Bangladesh are on land alongside the A 109 in the area where the highway will be expanded.
As reported by Amnesty International in their report Driven out from development, in January 2015, scores of residents and business owners in Jomvu informal settlement received 30-day eviction notices from the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA) informing them that their homes and businesses occupied public land reserved for road construction. Their structures were also marked for demolition with yellow crosses.
People in Jomvu told Amnesty International that they had not been consulted about the proposed evictions and, beyond the notices, had received no information on the eviction process, resettlement or compensation.
On the night of 17 May 2015 forced and unlawful evictions of more than 100 inhabitants of informal settlements along the A 109 highway in Jomvu (km 10+700 to km 11+ 450) took place. Between 11pm and midnight, residents of Jomvu were woken by the arrival of a bulldozer accompanied by scores of armed police. According to eyewitnesses, the bulldozer systematically demolished shops and homes that bore yellow crosses.
On 13 Aug 2015, KeNHA organised a public sensitisation meeting, during which it admitted they had carried out the demolitions and indicated that they would consider providing some form of remedy. During the meeting, KeNHA representatives informed people about the existence of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) for the project and also summarised the main aspects of them. This was the first time that a majority of the people had heard about these documents.
KeNHA representatives did not provide any details about the amounts for compensation and how these would be determined. KeNHA asked forcefully evicted people to establish a committee to calculate their losses and present them to KeNHA for consideration. The meeting was not in line with the criteria for genuine consultation as envisaged by international human rights standards.
Reaction of the banks
The AfDB and EIB were unaware of the May forced evictions until Amnesty International informed them about the case in June 2015. EIB approved the loan on 21 July 2015, about 2 months after the evictions, at a time when KeNHA had not taken any steps to provide the victims with effective remedies, and even though AI brought the forced evictions to the notice of the EIB.
Following a joint monitoring mission of the lenders in Sept 2015 KeNHA called for a ‘civil society consultation meeting’ with the project’s funders. At the meeting, KeNHA took responsibility for the forced evictions and agreed to put in place a remedy process and to provide compensation until the end of the year 2015. It also committed not to carry out further forced evictions anywhere in the project area.
KeNHA and the funders clarified that the available Resettlement Action Plan is not final and still needs to be brought into compliance with the banks’ safeguards policies. During the meeting, the EIB also confirmed, that forced evictions are a ‘no go’ zone for the lenders.
In response to the forced evictions, a Corrective Action Plan has been developed and mediation process undertaken. Mediation has ended in 2018 covering more than 300 people. The majority of the impacted people received compensation for the losses. The mediation final agreement included recommendations regarding the reform of the project Grievance Redress Mechanism and a summary of livelihood measures to be undertaken by KeNHA.
Resettlement standards vs. reality
The EIB’s Environmental and Social Handbook (pdf) as well as the KfW Sustainability Guideline (pdf) confirm that banks’ standards must comply with the UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development-based Displacement and Evictions (pdf), which give clear guidance on the actions required prior to resettlement:
- appropriate notice to all potentially affected persons that eviction is being considered and that there will be public hearings on the proposed plans and alternatives;
- effective dissemination by the authorities of relevant information in advance, including land records and proposed comprehensive resettlement plans specifically addressing efforts to protect vulnerable groups;
- a reasonable time period for public review of, comment on, and/or objection to the proposed plan;
- opportunities and efforts to facilitate the provision of legal, technical and other advice to affected persons about their rights and options;
- holding of public hearing(s) that provide(s) affected persons and their advocates with opportunities to challenge the eviction decision and/or to present alternative proposals and to articulate their demands and development priorities.
The EIB’s handbook also clearly indicates, that the resettlement standards apply whether or not the affected persons hold a legal title to their home or property under domestic law.
Human stories behind resettlements
Women’s testimonies gathered during meetings in December 2016 show the vulnerability of the affected communities and the broad range of negative impacts of the investment, which has not even started.
The women explained how their children cannot continue their education, because they don’t know if they should pay the fees for the next semester while waiting for the resettlement. They told about their youths, who dropped out from the college because they were needed at home after demolition.
They explained that even receiving a different land plot for their small food businesses is not enough, because they have lost their clients or good location. They finally talked about losing their compensation because of being in the hospital during the census.
In the Final Audit Report published in March 2016 by KeNHA, 94 structure owners have been indentified for compensation. It was not clear, how the compensation amounts were established in the audit. Some people for instance received about USD 80 as a compensation. According to Amnesty International, there are about 170 people, who should be in some way compensated due to the evictions. In Sept 2016, a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) for the evictees was developed.
During our visit in December 2016, we conducted a series of meetings with tenants, owners, women and Committees noting that a proper consultation of the Corrective Action Plan had not happened. We addressed our concerns in a joint letter to all the financiers that was signed by local and European organisations monitoring the project.
In response the EIB underlined the innovative approach of the bank, as all people are planned to be compensated, also those without receipts on the basis of “average compensation of those with receipts”. This, however, is not an innovation, but a standard according to the EIB’s own handbook.
The bank stated that of the signing of the contract with KeNHA is postponed until both CAP and RAP have been finalised. The bank also promised that the resettlement will take place in stages and compensation will be pre-paid. Road sections will only be given to the contractor after compensation and resettlement have been implemented.
People impacted by the 2015 Jomvu evictions agreed for a mediation facilitated by the EIB. It has ended in 2018 covering more than 300 people. The losses were compensated, although there are still around 10 people claiming they were improperly assessed.
Additionally, the mediation final agreement brought the best practices for the reinforcement of the project Grievance Redress Mechanism (GRM):
- a cross-functional design team with a neutral party
- involvement of affected stakeholders
- oral and written communication of the scope and the limits of the GRM in English and in a local language
- identification of access points (with at least one being independent)
- a detailed management framework and format of feedback and information flow to the complainant
- an oversight body for supervision
- a Development Plan to implement the reform of the GRM
- and a summary of livelihood measures to be undertaken by KeNHA, accompanied by the agreed improvements.
The revised Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) has been published in 2018. Its low quality should not have been accepted by lenders. It lacks such key components as a Livelihood Restoration Framework and detailed maps enabling the affected persons to understand the impact on their possessions. None of the RAP Annexes are available on the website, although they were partly disclosed to us on request after four months.
Our field mission to the potential relocation sites for business activities indicated in the RAP revealed that these sites had not been prepared and equipped with relevant infrastructure.
RAP’s authors also failed to identify women and children as one of the most affected groups, and did not propose any appropriate mitigation measures. Livelihood restoration measures for women, considered as vulnerable persons, are also limited and do not fully address the issues identified in the RAP’s modest vulnerability assessment. We have been addressing it to the lenders in 2018, but no action has been undertaken.
In 2018, one of the local human rights defenders has been threatened and had to temporarily leave the country with the assistance of human rights groups.
In 2019 yet more complaints regarding the Resettlement Action Plan implementation are submitted.