Trans-Nzoia seizes railway land over Sh200 million debt

Controversy has erupted between the Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) and Trans-Nzoia after the latter invaded a prime land belonging to the State-owned firm to create a temporary bus terminus.

Reports from the county’s chamber of commerce indicate that the corporation owes the government Sh200 million in land rates, and the county would be using the land until all its dues are recovered.

The KRC said reconciliation between the two parties was necessary to ascertain the outstanding amount, even as it condemned the county move.
The parastatal said the act amounted to invasion of public property and vowed to do everything possible to recover the land.

But the KRC will have more than just the county administration to deal with. Traders have also allocated themselves railway land after the county government demolished their stalls.

“For the county government to take a land belonging to a parastatal without informing the owner is the highest level of corruption by the authority,” said KRC general manager Alfred Matheka.

Mr Matheka said they had already informed security officials and the Kenya Railways Police as well to eject the county government from the land.

The county government relocated the bus termini to the outskirts of Kitale in what the governor, Patrick Khaemba said was a move meant to rehabilitate the bus park at the town, even as Members of County Assembly opposed the plan.

The House disowned the rehabilitation project on grounds that it was not factored in the budgetary estimates of the current financial year, wondering how it would be financed.

“We want the public to know that we never allocated any funds for the rehabilitation of the bus park. We have also never heard of tender advertisements for its rehabilitation,” said budget committee’s chairman David Kisaka.

Also casting suspicion on the rehabilitation project is the fact that the Kenya Prison Service has fenced off part of the demolished bus park on grounds that part of the land had been grabbed by the defunct municipal council.

“How can the executive tell us that the bus park is set for rehabilitation yet the Prison department is already hiving off part of it?” Asked Matisi MCA Betty Chemutai.

The KRC owns vast land across the country and some of it has not been developed, creating room for invasion. For almost 10 years, its locomotives have not been using the Eldoret-Kitale railway line due to its poor state.

The county assembly has also condemned the governor for the manner that he handled the traders case, seeing it as a recipe for disaster.