Kenya: Not All Kenyans Happy About New Railway

Kenya: Not All Kenyans Happy About New Railway

While some Kenyans are celebrating the second phase of a cross-country Chinese-built railway line, others are angry about what the railway has cost them: their land and their homes.

Along the newly launched railway line, in Ongata Rongai, about 20 kilometers from Nairobi, there is a stretch of road dotted by destroyed houses.

Hundreds of homes were demolished to make way for the railway, meant to ease the transportation of people and goods.

Mary Abuto, 50, lost half of her property along the railway line.

“When you have a home, you had already planted your trees,” she said. “Now those trees are not there. You start from scratch. A field where there is nothing, totally nothing. You start afresh. In fact, it’s like I have been taken almost 15 years back. It’s very traumatizing and it’s very discouraging.”

Speaking few kilometers from Abuto’s old home Wednesday, President Uhuru Kenyatta told Kenyans living in the area that the railway would bring growth to the residents.

“We know the railway is a development, and we know where we are today, because of the railway line passing through Ongata Rongai, there will also be development here, too,” he said.

The Kenyatta government spent $1.5 billion to build the second phase of the railway line from Nairobi to Naivasha, a town in the Rift Valley region.

Part of that money was used to compensate people whose land and property were taken.