KRC boss faces jail term over Kisumu house demolitions


Kenya Railways Managing Director Phillip Mainga. 

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

Kenya Railways Corporation managing director Philip Mainga risks jail for refusing to compensate residents of a village in Kisumu whose houses the corporation demolished three years ago.

Environment and Land Court judge Samson Okong’o directed Mr Mainga to appear before the court on July 25 and show cause why he should not be jailed for failing to pay the residents of Shauri Moyo and Swahili villages in Muhoroni, Kisumu.

The court had, on March 14, 2024, directed Kenya Railways Corporation to pay the 206 residents Sh20.6 million for demolishing their houses in February 2021.

“That the managing director of the Kenya Railways Corporation, Philip J. Mainga, shall appear in court on 25/7/2024 to show cause why he should not be committed to civil jail for disobedience of the order made by this court on 14/3/2024,” said Justice Okong’o.

The residents, led by Solomon Musa, successfully sued the government and Kenya Railways for demolishing their houses on February 6, 2021.

Justice Anthony Ombwayo ruled that their right to housing was violated as their dwellings were demolished without considering their welfare.

The judge said that by destroying their houses, churches, and schools, the corporation denied the residents socio-economic and cultural rights as provided for in the Constitution.

Through lawyer Kenneth Amondi, the residents accused the corporation of not consulting or issuing them notices before flattening their houses.

Kenya Railways defended the demolitions, arguing that they were done lawfully and after the notices were served to the residents. The court was informed that KR wanted to reclaim all railway operational areas encroached on.

Further, the corporation said notices were issued requiring the residents to vacate its land to pave the way for the impending demolitions of all illegal structures built on the railway reserve.

But Justice Ombwayo ruled that evictions should not result in individuals being rendered homeless or vulnerable to the violation of other human rights.

“Where those affected were unable to provide for themselves, the State party had to take all appropriate measures, to the maximum of its available resources, to ensure that adequate alternative housing, resettlement or access to productive land, as the case could be, was available,” the judge said.

The judge held that no consultations were done as the evictions were unlawful and no Relocation Action Plan was made to ensure that the residents of Shauri Moyo, Bondeni, and Swahili villages were resettled or compensated before the evictions were done.

The court directed that each resident be paid Sh100,000 as compensation.

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