Kenya: Locals Disrupt SGR Construction, Demand Compensation

16 February 2017

Construction works at the Standard Gauge Railway’s Mombasa West Station in Maganda, Miritini area came to a standstill for over four hours on Thursday following protests by residents demanding compensation among other grievances.

The over 200 residents marched to the construction site demanding compensation and answers to cracks that have developed in their houses.

This the second time this year the residents are demonstrating demanding for compensation after their houses cracked due explosions at the site. They camped at the site forcing construction workers whom majority are Chinese and the contractors to stop operations.

According to Mr John Gichana, they were tired of the cat and mouse tricks by the construction company and are seeking legal redress.

Mr Gichana said that the China Roads and Bridges Company had refused to reach out to the community on compensation.

“We have decided to invoke both the Kenyan laws and international laws on basic human rights and environmental safe regulations for our people to get justice.

“The Company has failed us as community members. We want to remind them that there are still families who had not been reached and names not in the Phase III compensation list,” he said.

Mr Gichana added that over 100 houses have developed cracks as a result of use of explosives to break through the boulders to pave way for the SGR line.

He said the community has been exposed to stagnant water as there is no proper drainage systems in the area.

Mr Hamisi Ali Nduyra told the Nation that the project was a blessing as it had created job for some of the local. However, he blamed the contractors for not informing the residents of the risks that come with such projects.

“We are very pleased with the SGR project for it will improve the lives of our people for generations to come. We have had to live with massive explosions from the site, our children have suffered injuries as debris fall on houses after the explosions,” Mr Nduyra said.

He added that men have had to forgo their conjugal rights as they fail to perform due to the sudden blasts.”We are also suffering from the dust from the site, we are constantly with our children to hospitals seeking treatment as a result of inhaling the dust,” he added.

Ms Zebeda Kuria said that the railway project has brought with it a lot of misery. “Our houses have developed cracks, we have no proper drainage as soil heaps have blocked the natural flow of rain water. The stagnant water pose great danger to us and our families. Our children risk drowning in some of these areas,” she said.

The residents have given the CRBC a seven days’ notice to respond before they go to court.

Kenya Railways Managing Director Mr Atanas Maina when contacted said the Maganda settlement area had issues which were being addressed.

“That whole section between 0-9kilometres, we are just finalizing the compensation for the private land owners but for the Maganda settlement scheme, the ownership is yet to be determined by the National Lands Commission,” Mr Maina noted.

He said the valuation of the land had been done, but who is to be paid or the owners of the land was still in dispute.



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