News / Africa

Kenya Railways Suspends Plan to Evict 50,000 from Slums

Michael Onyiego

Kenya Railways officials have suspended plans to evict nearly 50,000 people living and working alongside railroad tracks planned for renovation. Despite the announcement, there are worries that the forced evictions could still happen in the near future.  

On March 21, people living near Kenya's railway line to Uganda were given notice that they had 30 days to leave their homes to make room for upgrades to the system. The notice was presented by the Kenya Railways Corporation, a state owned company which runs Kenya's rail system, and gave no indication that those living near the tracks would be resettled.

The eviction notice was met with an outcry from local residents as well as the international community. Many residents have lived near the rails for years and threatened to fight back if forcefully evicted. London-based human rights organization Amnesty International called the planned eviction a violation of Kenyan and International law.

The 30 days given by the initial notice expired just one week ago, and this week it was announced that Kenya Railways had suspended the pending removal until further notice. The decision was reportedly made after discussions with a community organization in one of the affected areas, Ngazi ya Chini, which means bottom of the ladder in Swahili.

While the decision was celebrated by many of the reserve's residents, the director of Amnesty International in Kenya, Justus Nyang'aya said that the eviction had simply been postponed, leaving residents uncertain about their future.

"While it is welcome news, there has been a lot of psychological trauma on people," said  Justus Nyang'aya. "When people are told they are going to be evicted it is not an easy matter at all. People ran everywhere scared that they were going to be evicted. Then they are told now that we have suspended it. And they are not saying that they have suspended it until another day. They just said 'we have suspended it' which is an open ended suspension."

No new relocation plan has been released, and Kenya Railways Corporation could not be reached for comment.

The majority of those affected by the decision live in Kibera, an area in western Nairobi which is famously known as Africa's largest slum. Kibera is home to an estimated one million inhabitants, and the railway due for renovation runs right through its center. The tin shanties of Kibera stand within 10 feet of the tracks in some areas, well within the 100 feet designated as railway reserve by the government.

Amnesty International has called on the Kenya Railways to respect a plan drafted by Kenyan authorities in 2005 to improve safety along the tracks. The so-called Relocation Action Plan established guidelines for the eviction process and suggested that inhabitants within the railway reserve be resettled in housing provided by the Kenyan government. The plan was never enacted and residents living in close proximity to the rails were allowed to remain.

You May Like

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid