Demonstrations that entail uprooting a railway line, popularly known as “Kungoa Reli” have always been considered the preserve of residents of certain areas, namely Kibera and Kisumu.
However, residents along the Main Mahiu-Longonot 24km extension line acted in a similar manner when they disrupted ongoing constructions of the rail, causing a commotion, and uprooting sections of the newly constructed standard meter gauge railway, that is supposed to connect the area to the SGR.
The residents were demonstrating over unpaid monies that was supposed to be remitted to them as compensation for moving from their lands in order to pay way for the railway.
Some of them lamented, saying that they didn’t even really want to move in the first place, and would have much rather preferred staying, since having to move had disrupted their way of life, and livelihoods, but it was worse that they were even missing out on the money they had been promised. They swore to keep up with the protests until they got their compensation.
September last Jacob Kipaa, the NLC chief valuation and taxation officer told farmers the land where the railway would pass had already been gazetted and the names of those affected compiled for compensation.
This isn’t the first time that such scenes are being witnessed in the area. Last year September, construction was interrupted after 500 residents of Longonot and Jikaze IDP centre stormed the site of the 24km line demanding jobs and kicked out the workers. They accused the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) of taking them round in circles for over two months and failing to address their grievances. The demonstration came barely a fortnight after Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui hit out at the contractor for allegedly ignoring residents in job opportunities and vowed to take action.
Similar protests were also witnessed in the coastal region during the early stages of the SGR construction.