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

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs