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COAST: Rising Insecurity Linked To Mombasa Cement’s Free Food Donations

The philanthropy program which is funded by Hasu Patel, the proprietor of the cement firm has been a blessing that has morphed into a security catastrophe for the city.

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Mombasa Cement’s free food donation program has come under fierce criticism from city residents who’re now linking it to the rising insecurity in the coastal town.

The philanthropic program which is funded by Hasu Patel, the proprietor of the cement firm has been a blessing that has morphed into a security catastrophe for the city.

Mohammed Hersi, the former Kenya Tourism Federation Chairman, renowned hotelier and a resident of Mombasa, has joined his voice to the many in criticized the arguing that it could be playing a big role in the rising insecurity.

While praising Mombasa cement and philanthropic owner Hasu Patel for having made significant contributions to Mombasa and Kilifi, including fencing schools and beautifying the Kibarani area, the hotelier paused for advising.

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In his criticism, Mr. Hersi stated that the idea of providing free food to the able-bodied is becoming increasingly problematic, as the influx of people from Kilifi and Kwale is overwhelming. Many residents choose to remain on the island, leading to a lack of sleep and a rise in beggers and mob mugging.

“Drive at night and entire Haile Sellasie road and Moi Avenue including Digi road and even Nkurumah street is full of people ( I refuse to call them street families) sleeping. Why ? They are waiting for the Sunday handout.” He stated.

“So what happens rest of the days ? Women and Children turn to begging hence the huge number of beggers lately . What about the young people? Well they get creative and start mob mugging which we have seen lately.” He added.

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Food donations not helping

Mr. Hersi suggests that the culture of free food is not helping these people and should be tied to work and reward. He suggests that the initial help should be relief during calamities, followed by rehabilitation, such as teaching people how to fish. The Kenya coast has rich soil and good weather, and farm inputs and beekeeping can be long-term and rewarding.

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Residents lining up for free food.

“Initial help is relief and that happens during a calamity like floods , earthquake etc. Once relief has happened you move into Rehabilitation which is teaching a man how to fish . Kenya coast has rich soil and good weather what about farm inputs, bee keeping its long term but rewarding.” He stated.

He criticizes the culture of free food, stating that it is not helping these people and should not encourage a dependant society. They commend the men who work hard to earn a living and are not waiting for handouts or mugging others.

“Free things are never treasured, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day but teach the same man how to fish and feed him for life . These people can be helped in better ways , it should be tied to work and reward. They can be given the same food or even payment by say cleaning up Ukunda, Kilifi , Malindi, Likoni et al and the payment happens in those localties to avoid this mess.” He stated.

Residents cry

The cries comes after the business community raised concerns over the resurgence of crime gangs that have left them counting millions of losses.

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CCTV footage from one of the streets in Mombasa’s Central Business District (CBD) captured a group of a criminal gang members robbing unsuspected locals earlier this week.

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Robbery caught on camera.

At least 177 suspected members of a criminal gang have been arrested in Mombasa following a multi-agency operation conducted in the last week arising from the alarming incident.

Fauz Khalid, former Mvita parliamentary aspirant puts the blame of the criminal gang at the cement’s firm doorstep, “Mombasa Cement’s food bank atrracts many goons.” He stated.

Nusrat Mohammed, an environmentalist in Mombasa also puts the blame on the company, “This is where blind philanthropy ya Mombasa Cement has reached. It no longer serves the needy, hawa wakora ndio dominating that food distribution place.”

“Mombasa cement feeds those street boys then wakishiba wanapiga wasee ngeta. He has now promised to bail out those who’ve been arrested.” Another Mombasa resident identifying himself as Bushman stated on X.

The location of the distribution center appears to be a major issue, “Mombasa Cement needs to move his philanthropic activities away from that. These guys are getting bolder everyday and someone will be badly hurt or killed in the future.” a resident named Vijeba said.

Macheda Mike highlights the proximity of the food distribution center to the scene of reported crime, “This is like 50-70meters from where Mombasa Cement distributes his relief food daily…most of these boys and streetkids mobilize there. To make it worse, just across the road unaingia Majengo.” He stated.

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Mombasa County under Government Abdulswamad is currently conducting a crackdown to weed out juvenile gangs and to rid the city of preying beggars.

It won’t be the first time the Mombasa Cement tycoon is running into trouble with the authorities and city residents. He was previously accused of land grabbing and were involved in a circus with the county government over the manner in which he was running his donation scheme.

 

 

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