•The demolition that targets to pave way for the ongoing Sh3.8 billion rehabilitation of the 217-kilometre Nakuru- Kisumu tracks has affected more than 360 fishmongers
•The railway line has been dormant for 25 years. The eight-month rehabilitation project is being undertaken by the National Youth Service, KDF in partnership with KRC
The Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) on Friday demolished illegal structures on the railway line at Obunga in Kisumu.
The demolition that targets to pave way for the ongoing Sh3.8 billion rehabilitation of the 217-kilometre Nakuru- Kisumu tracks has affected more than 360 fishmongers.
It also affected more than 100 mechanics and hardware owners who had erected structures adjacent to the meter-gauge railway line.
The railway line has been dormant for 25 years. The eight-month rehabilitation project is being undertaken by the National Youth Service, KDF in partnership with KRC.
The county government also repossessed a grabbed public land to Kenya Breweries Limited.
Kisumu acting city manager Abala Wanga led City heads of department Kevin Ajul (city engineer), Samuel Orimba (Inspectorate), Arnold Guya (housing) Valentine Oiro (surveyor) to demolish the perimeter wall at the land.
Wanga said the affected fish traders will be relocated at the repossessed land.
The land was allegedly sold to a private developer by a former municipal councillor, who erected a perimeter wall.
“We are giving the traders the land to continue with their daily businesses,” Wanga said.
The parcel of land according to traders was given to them by the national government in 1986 during former President Daniel Moi's era to do their business before they were forced out after being grabbed.
Wanga warned that they will not relent to reclaim all the grabbed public property.
The city management targets to repossess 52 grabbed lands. They include playing grounds, city houses and lands.
Wanga said some of the property was grabbed by former influential politicians in collaboration with former councillors.
“We are telling those who illegally acquired or grabbed public property to surrender them peacefully before we descended on them,” he said.
The traders welcomed the demolition and repossession of the grabbed land where they had been driven away by land cartels.
Fish traders chairman Richard Osiolo said they were forced to seek refuge along the railway line to continue with their fish business.
“We have many people including aged women, young women and men who depend on fish traders for their livelihood,” Osiolo said.
He thanked Wanga and Governor Anyang Nyong’o for giving them alternative space saying they have been able to provide for the families through the fish business.
“We are happy today that we have space to do our business,” Osiolo said.
The fish mongers deal with remains of fish from the fish processing factories through value addition.
Edited by Kiilu Damaris