A second court order stopping the demolition of property on railway land may just be a little too late.
A Kisumu Court on Thursday directed the Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) to stop further evictions in Kibos until the main application is heard and determined.
The ruling by the Environment and Lands Court stops the corporation from further enforcing the directive that its managing director, Mr Phillip Mainga issued last year. The evictions have left a trail of destruction amid an unfolding humanitarian crisis affecting thousands of families in Kisumu Town East and Muhoroni sub-counties.
Thursday’s ruling, however, came more than four days after the destruction had been done and the affected residents moved to an 18-acre plot by the county government.
The first court order stopping the corporation from carrying out the demolitions was issued last year but was ignored.
The current order, however, stops any development on the land planned by the KRC until the main petition is heard and determined.
According to lawyers representing Kibos residents, the court allows the locals to erect temporary structures while awaiting the court’s verdict.
For Kisumu residents, the past few months have been a sharp, continuous, excruciating painful sacrifice they have had to make to pave way for the ongoing development being undertaken by the corporation.
In Muhoroni town, the Nation team found Mr Calvins Otieno dismantling a metallic beam that previously held the roof of the church he has been worshipping in for the past two years, but which has been brought down.
The Sh3 million Holy Trinity Church of Africa building is barely two years old. It has taken its members even more years to fundraise for its construction. At the time of its demolition it was almost complete, with the only placement of glasses on the window frames remaining.
Faithful have had to erect a pole where a bulb is hung to keep the night vigil so that the building blocks and roofs are not stolen.
“We have really been taken aback by these demolitions becauewe acquired land legally and have the necessary documents,” said a crestfallen Mr Otieno.
A few meters from the church, is the eggs collection center which had been constructed by the county government. It also fell to the sharp heavy blades of the bull dozers which also flattened Shaurimoyo Estate affecting at least 200 people.
Mr Solomon Musa, an elder who spoke on behalf of the inhabitants of Shaurimoyo said the demolitions came two days before they could be given title deeds of the plots they had been allotted.
“Where we are currently, is under the World Bank’s Kenya Informal Settlement Improvement Programme. Kenya Railways brought their surveyors, who demarcated their area and we were settled and given plots but now we are wondering why our houses are no more,” said Mr Musa A 15-minute drive from Muhoroni Town is Koru, where buildings which were close to the railway line were brought down. They include a newly constructed building owned by the Homa Line Company Limited.
It shares a fence with St Christopher’s Anglican Church of Kenya in Koru which was built in 2012, but also had its sections brought down. When the Nation visited the church, workers were busy removing the roof even as learning continued in the other sections of the church that were not touched.
In both Muhoroni and Koru towns, small-scale traders a bore the biggest brunt of the destruction, with shops, kiosks, hardware, mechanical shops, hotels being brought down.
The Kisumu City management is planning to erect three dormitories for women, children and men on the 18-acre land where the over 3,000 Nubian victims have temporarily been settled.