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Court rules in favour of 3,500 Nubians over KR evictions

NYANZA
By Harold Odhiambo | August 30th 2021

Kibos camp in Kisumu County where the Nubian community have been staying. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

The Nubian Community who have been staying in makeshift camps after they were forcefully evicted from their homes by Kenya Railways can now breathe a sigh of relief after a court declared the evictions violated their rights.

The judgment by Justice Anthony Ombwayo sets the ground for the community to lodge another suit for compensation of damages to their property during the exercise.

Six residents, on behalf of more than 3,500 people who were the victims of the demolitions that took place in February this year, had successfully filed a petition.

On Friday, after months of gloom, members of the minority group broke into celebrations as they took to the streets of Kisumu to celebrate the judgment.

Led by their lawyers Joshua Nyamori, Dave Siganga and Robert Maua as well as chairperson of Kisumu Muslim Association Sheikh Musa, they praised the decision by the court to confirm the inhumane nature of their evictions.

"We are happy that at long last, justice has prevailed," said Sheikh Musa.

In the 53-page judgment, Justice Ombwayo issued 12 orders inclining towards the interests of the community.

A boy walks on the rubble of what used to be his home in Kibos, Kisumu County, February 7, 2021. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The judge declared that the human and administrative rights of the victims of the evictions were violated by the respondent and barred Kenya Railways from conducting a similar eviction until relocation is done.

“A declaration that any forcible, violent and brutal eviction through demolition of homes of the Petitioners and any other residents of the Kibos Informal Settlement without according them alternative shelter and/or accommodation leaving them to live in the open exposed to the elements and vagaries of nature is a violation of their fundamental right to life,” said the judge.

In the suit, the victims recounted the horrific experience they went through when bulldozers flattened their homes.

The petitioners on behalf of the community were Fatuma Khamis, Rashid Sadi, Kadmala Ahmed, Rukia Khamis, Noor Rajab and Michael Odhiambo.

According to the community, they were given the parcel by a colonial governor of Kenya Sir Robert Brooke Pophan on January 26, 1938. It is on that basis that they were hoping to convince the court to rule the case in their favour.s

The judge urged the community to file a separate suit to seek for compensation.

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