Kenya Railways retirees angle for State’s housing scheme

Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefits Scheme is pushing for its 7,000 members to benefit from low-cost housing units the Government is planning to build on the scheme’s 139 acres in Makongeni, Nairobi. The 20,000 houses will be built in collaboration with the World bank.

Members of the scheme are former employees of the giant Kenya Railways Corporation.

The Government is planning to buy the land to build affordable housing.

James Kanyeki, the organising secretary of Former Kenya Railways Workers Association (Fokerawa), estimates the Makongeni land to be worth about Sh400 million per acre or Sh56 billion for the 139 acres.

Kanyeki says the scheme would pay a total of Sh14 billion for all the 7,000 pensioners to own a three-bedroom house. This money, he said, should be deducted from the Makongeni land sales money.

“It will give us and our future generations a comfortable life with the pleasure of being landlords and landladies in the heart of Nairobi,” said Kanyeki.

The Government has given hope to the pensioners, with the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development Charles Hinga saying that the pensioners would be invited for a round-table talk to discuss the matter.

“We have noted the issues raised. We are currently working on the development framework for the implementation of the housing agenda. Once the framework is ready, we shall invite the pensioners’ representatives for a stakeholders sensitisation workshop,” he said in a letter to the then FOKERAWA secretary Henry Wamukota (now chairman).

Some of the scheme’s members died without accessing their terminal benefits.

Surviving members are a bitter lot and are demanding that each of them be allocated a three-bedroom house at the completion of the Makongeni project as an appreciation for their illustrious career with the giant corporation.

“This is the only way we’ll be guaranteed a decent life in retirement,” said Kanyeki.  

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