• In 2018, Kenha reclaimed road reserves in Ujamaa, Ng’ombeni, Waa, Tiwi, Ukunda and Msambweni along the Likoni-Lunga Lunga highway.
• According to residents, Kenha recently issued a notice through the village elders and chiefs that they were going to extend the road reserves.
It is 10pm and Mohammed Abdallah Kutsetsera is unable to fall asleep.
He is lost in thought, wondering what would happen if his investment–a building–is pulled down.
Kutsetsera is among more than 1,000 families in Kwale who think the ongoing tracing of road reserves on Mombasa-Lunga Lunga road by the Kenya National Highway Authority will lead to loss of property through demolition.
But Kenha has denied it is planning to demolish or evict anyone. 
Kenha Coast regional engineer Eric Wambua told the Star on the phone Friday that they are tracing the road reserves for boundary demarcation as per the Survey of Kenya map and that no houses would be demolished. 
“We are just surveying according to the original roadmap and there is no need to worry because no demolition is taking place,” he said.
In some areas, the new beacon marks have already been drawn.
County Roads executive Hemedi Mwabudzo said Kenha assured them that they have no plans of demolishing any building.
But Kutsetsera is not convinced as he stares at his Sh2 million house located in Denyenye, Matuga.
It is a classic Swahili residential-cum-business building comprising 12 rooms.  
“This is all I have, what will I do at this age if they take down the building. I have children in universities, high schools and at primary level. They all depend on this,” a visibly disturbed Kutsetsera said.
His body trembles as he tries to speak. “Stress will kill us. This is unfair?” he said.
Kutsetsera is not alone. Ali Hassan Mwashaka’s is a worried man.
He has just finished reconstructing his one-storey building at a cost of more than Sh1.5 million. It was demolished three years ago. 
In 2018, Kenha reclaimed the encroached road reserves in Ujamaa, Ng’ombeni, Waa, Tiwi, Ukunda and Msambweni along the Likoni-Lunga Lunga highway.
The exercise left hundreds of families stranded and traders counting losses as properties worth millions were pulled down by bulldozers. 
Police officers stood guard, ready for those who would show resistance.
Mwashaka is one of the many people who did not salvage anything, all was reduced to dust.
Although residents claimed they were not being notified before the demolitions, Kenha said they were served with notices in good time.
Why fear?
Residents, who are still trying to recover from the 2018 ordeal, fear there will be another demolition.
They claim Kenha recently issued a notice through the village chairman and elders that it was going to extend the road reserves.
But county commissioner Gideon Oyagi said he is not aware but is doing a follow-up.
Kutsetsera and Mwashaka and other residents fear they are being tricked into allowing the beacon exercise and will later pay the price through loss of property.
Tiwi resident Ali Mwatando said after the new beacons are installed, they might be asked to move to pave the way for the road expansion.
“We are not stupid. We know evictions will happen after beacons are erected. That is what happened before and we won’t risk anymore,” he said.
Rights organisations, Matuga MP Kasim Tandaza and Kwale Woman Representative Zulekha Hassan have said proper procedures should be followed in case of road expansion.
Tandaza said residents have title deeds and are entitled to fair compensation for any activity happening around their ancestral lands.
“They must pay residents for their land, houses and businesses that will be affected if they want to expand the road,” he said. 
Tandaza assured residents that justice will prevail.
Zulekha called on county leaders to unite and protect residents.
Human Rights Agenda (Huria) officer Mwinyihaji Chamosi said residents deserve fair treatment and the truth.
He said the government should at least organise fresh public participation forums and sensitise residents on what is going on to avoid speculation and fear.
Chamosi said residents are in full support of development, but the law and transparency must be followed.
“They are not opposing government projects, but due legal process must be followed,” he said.
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