The thorny issue of historical land injustices took centre stage at the Mombasa Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) rally where leaders called for a resolution to the land problems.
The leaders who spoke with one voice observed that the land issue had continued to divide the country for decades and expressed optimism that BBI was the key to solving issues affecting the region.
The Coastal leaders in their 16-point resolutions called for systems that will ensure that divisive elections that have been wrecking the fabric of the nation are dealt with.
The resolutions read by Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi, indicated that cronyism and favoritism that is common in government has led to corruption and ensured that the coastal region has remained underdeveloped.
They are recommending that government should comprehensively address matters of land ownership, land titling as well as buying land from absentee landlords that should be redistributed to the locals in the coastal regions.
The leaders want the government to either buy land from absentee landlords and resettle affected coastal communities or amend the constitution to revoke land held by absentee landlords.
The coastal region further called for the allocation of an economic stimulus program to help revamp the agriculture sector in the region.
Others recommendations included shared prosperity, equitable distribution of revenue from natural resources and a more inclusive political system.
“The initiative is timely and necessary to heal this country. Divisive elections have continued to wreck the fabric of these nations every five years…We tell the BBI steering committee that Coast region is waiting to see their issues reflected in the second report and they will be very disappointed if their views are disregarded,” said the governor.
They called for the creation of an independent social and economic impact assessment commission to establish the impact of national projects on locals.
The region also demanded the introduction of regional governments while at the same time retaining the current 47 counties.
The BBI Coast meeting is the third after the first one was held in Kisii County for the Nyanza region and the second one in Kakamega county for the western region.