UNFAIR

Resettle traders before evictions from Railways land — Nyeri leaders

Promise to support the affected people legally and by any other means to ensure the notice to vacate does not apply.

In Summary

• Senator Ephraim Maina said he will pursue all options including court action to ensure that Kenya Railways considers the grievances of the traders.

• Kieni MP Kanini Kega said that the traders should be allocated an alternative land to operate from.

Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina with traders in Karatina town on Saturday
Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina with traders in Karatina town on Saturday
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI
Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina (left) listens to traders in Karatina town on Saturday
Nyeri Senator Ephraim Maina (left) listens to traders in Karatina town on Saturday
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI
Traders at the railway line in Karatina town in Nyeri on Saturday
Traders at the railway line in Karatina town in Nyeri on Saturday
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

Nyeri traders operating on Kenya Railways property should be given an alternative site before the evictions by the state parastatal, two legislators have said. 

Senator Ephraim Maina said he will pursue all options including court action to ensure that Kenya Railways considers the grievances of the traders.

Kieni MP Kanini Kega said that the traders should be allocated an alternative land to operate from.

In a notice to the traders by Kenya Railway on December 21, those illegally on the corporation's land within the station and adjacent reserves were told to vacate.

The notice signed by Kenya Railways acting managing director  Phillip Mainga said the corporation intends to improve its infrastructure for train operation and public safety.

The traders encroaching on the Nairobi - Nanyuki line were given five days to vacate and allow room for rail operation or be evicted by force.

Those affected are small traders in Karatina town and Chaka market in Nyeri county who operate along the line.

 But Maina said there is no way the traders can be given a five-day notice to vacate.

 “I know the government is looking into this matter because our government considers the interests of its people and therefore this letter cannot hold,” Maina said.

He said he would support the affected people legally and by any other means to ensure the notice does not apply.

The senator spoke to the traders in Karatina town on Saturday.

He said he had held discussions with senior government officials including Transport CS James Macharia on the issues and they were sympathetic with the people.

He said they are still discussing how to address the matter.

 

Maina said anyone intending to remove the people from the area must provide an alternative place for them.

The county government had pledged to give them an alternative land but Maina said the land is marshy and not conducive for doing business.

“So we must sit down with leaders and come up with a solution which fits everybody, both the interests of Kenya Railway and the traders,” he said.

In a meeting with traders at Chaka market in his Kieni constituency, Kega told the traders the president was aware of their grievances

The president, he said, directed that the Sh1 billion market be completed first so that the people can be moved from the railway to the market.  

The first phase of the market funded by the national government is 90 per cent complete, he said.

Kega said the entire railway stretch is about 200 kilometres and called on the corporation to focus on the unoccupied areas and repair them first.

By the time they are through, people will have moved out of railway reserves, he said. 

“We are not opposed to our people moving from the railway reserves but all that we are saying is that if they are moved, then they must get alternative land. Here we are lucky because we have a market under construction,” said.

Kega was accompanied by Nyeri Town MP Ngunjiri Wambugu, Murang’ Senator Irungu Kang’ata, Murang’a women representative Sabina Chege and Nyeri nominated MCA Julia Wanjiku.

Jackline Njoki, a trader, said about 2,000 people are trading along the railway line.

Njoki said they were trading at the same spot even when the rail was operational. 

She said they are ready to ensure those who have erected their stalls closest to the rail are prevailed upon to move.