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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power 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.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid