RECLAIMING GRABBED LAND

Kisumu tenants panic as Kenya Railways plans fresh demolitions

Tenants say they were not given notice

In Summary

• KR wants to repossesses its grabbed land and the plan is sending shivers down the spine of people who have trespassed on its property. 

National Youth Service Men at Swan Center in Kisumu.
National Youth Service Men at Swan Center in Kisumu. National Youth Service Men at Swan Center in Kisumu.
Image: FAITH MATETE

Tenants and building owners in Kisumu are a worried lot as Kenya Railways Corporation prepares for phase two of demolition in the town. 

KR wants to repossesses its grabbed land and the plan is sending shivers down the spine of people who have trespassed on its property. 

Occupants of Swan Centre were on Wednesday caught by surprise when National Youth Service workers began drilling holes so as to erect a fence around the mall. Some tenants began looking for alternative office space instead of waiting to sent away.    

 

The Kenya Revenue Authority, which  occupies three floors, Choppies Supermarket and the Standard Media Group are among the tenants of the mall. 

However, the proprietors of the building said they have not received any notice from Kenya Railways to vacate.

Residents who spoke to the Star said if the demolitions go ahead they will deals a blow to the county's economy since the corporation owns a big chunk of land in the town.

Businessman Mark John asked, "Does it mean that any structure on land belonging to Kenya Railways will be demolished? Why can't Kenya Railways reclaim the land but allow people to continue with business? 

A week ago, the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission summoned some landowners in Kisumu in a probe over alleged irregular allocation of KR land proceeds for Kisumu Municipality Block 7/4, 5.

An advert in the local dailies states that the commission requires owners of the property take to the EACC their original land documents.

The anti-graft agency  wants to scrutinise transfer documents, ownership documents and consent from the lands control board. The documents should be submitted to the EACC within seven days of the notice.

 

Take notice that you are required to provide the aforesaid documents and information by Friday, September 6 at the commission's offices at Integrity Centre,” the public notice signed by the agency's CEO Twalib Mbarak stated. 

Kenya Railways has terminated leases of some of its clients to pave the way for the Sh3 billion Kisumu Port. Businesses belonging to former Gem MP Jakoyo Midiwo, Roan Bar, Ronalo Foods and Winmart market were affected in the demolitions. Many people were left jobless. 

Traders are panicking after they were given a notice by the county government to remove their stalls within seven days. 

In a letter dated August 28, city manager Doris Ombara warned that failure to adhere to the notice will force the county government to demolish the structures.

Notice is hereby given to all stall owners/temporary structures to remove the said structures immediately and not later than seven days from the date hereof,” she said.

The letter was copied to the acting county secretary, the Kisumu Central deputy county commissioner, the Kisumu Central division police boss, the Railways police station boss and the directorate inspectorate of the city of Kisumu.