Court blocks Mombasa County from relocating vehicle dealers


Second hand vehicles at a yard in Mombasa County. FILE PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NMG

Importers of used motor vehicles have won a major reprieve after a court ruled that the County Government of Mombasa had no right to force them to relocate to a parcel of land in Jomvu to conduct their businesses.

The Environment and Land Court also ruled that importers, under the umbrella of the Car Importers Association of Kenya (Ciak), have a right to carry out their businesses in showrooms that they currently operate from located in Mombasa’s Central Business District.

Justice Lucas Naikuni further issued a declaration that Ciak members have a right to be involved in the decision-making process leading to their intended relocation.

However, the judge also ruled that orders of the court do not prohibit Mombasa from further engaging Ciak on any aspect provided it is undertaken within the confines of laid down provisions and principles of the constitution.

Ciak filed the petition challenging their intended relocation to the Jomvu area saying that the county government by a notice dated January 7 last year and on other dates had directed that it would relocate its members from the CBD.

Justice Naikuni noted that the decision by the respondent (county government) to relocate Ciak members to Jomvu was similar to another it made in 2020 which was quashed by the court.

“That the respondent has repeated the same kind of decision without undertaking any type of public participation,” said Justice Naikuni.

He said considering that Jomvu just like the standard gauge railway Mombasa terminus at Miritini, which does not have the necessary infrastructure to sustain the business of imported used motor vehicles, is clear evidence that the devolved unit has no respect for the Constitution.

The judge also noted that the petitioner (Ciak) was unaware who the registered proprietor of the land in Jomvu was and that the respondent had not advised Ciak members on terms and conditions that would apply to the intended tenancies such as the applicable monthly rent and to whom it would be paid to.

He said the relocation was shrouded in mystery and unrealistic as the county government had not advised Ciak members whether the land was freehold, under lease and those who might want to buy it would do so or not yet some importers are owners of properties they operate from.

Ciak had argued that the decision by the county government would adversely affect its members.

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