Court stops Kenya Railways from blocking access roads

Kisumu Railway station

The Kisumu Railway Station in Kisumu County.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The area residents sued Kenya Railways on behalf of Korando Community.
  • Residents claim state corporation started fencing the land in December last year.

Kenya Railways Corporation has been stopped from fencing part of a contested land in Kisumu after residents moved to court to the block the move.

In their petition, the residents said fencing the contested land would block access roads to schools and churches.

After noting that both the residents and the corporation claim ownership to the contested land, Environment and Land court judge Esther Asati ordered the parties to maintain a status quo.

“Each of parties claims to have relied on a surveyor’s report to support their respective contentions. It is important, in the circumstances of the case, to preserve the status quo ante pending hearing and determination of the suit,” Justice Asati ruled. 

The residents, including the Board of Management of Kisian Primary School, Trustees of Lela Christian Church of Africa and Registered members of Central Kisumu CBO, sued on behalf of Korando Community.

Blocking public roads

In the second case, the Karateng’ Community in Kisumu West sued Kenya Railways accusing the corporation of blocking public roads specifically, Lela-Aboge, Lela-Holo, Lela-Sunga and Lela-Eluhobe roads without any consultations.

Justice Asati noted that the residents have title to the land which they believe Kenya Railways was fencing.

The corporation did not deny fencing the land that would blocks certain roads, the residents have been using for a long time. 

The residents informed the court that the state corporation started fencing the land in December last year.

Through lawyer Kenneth Amondi, the residents submitted that Kenya Railways fenced off the access roads on the erroneous assumption that the same fell within the railway reserve. 

The Karando community said if not stopped the right to education of the children of and students within are who attend Kisian Primary and Secondary Schools, would be curtailed.

Registered land owner

Mr Amondi argued that Article 48 of the constitution places an obligation on the state to ensure access to justice for all persons. 

However, Kenya Railways said the residents failed to notify the Managing Director as required by section 87 of the Kenya Railways Act.

The said Act states that any action or legal proceedings can only be commenced against the corporation after one month notice has been sent to the Managing Director of the intention to sue.

The corporation further argued that it was the registered owner of the land referred to as Lela Railway Station. 

The court heard that in order to implement the East African Railway Master Plan, KRC commenced the exercise of securing its lawfully acquired and registered parcels of land countrywide by fencing them off.