Former railways workers oppose land auction

National Organising secretary of former Kenya Railways Workers Association James Kanyeki. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Former Kenya Railways workers plan to demonstrate on Tuesday to protest against planned auction of their land in Upper Hill, Nairobi.

The auction of the 6.7-acre parcel estimated to be worth Sh3.1 billion is scheduled for the same day after the announcement was made in a paid up advert in a local daily on May 13.

James Kanyeki, the national organising secretary of former Kenya Railways Workers Association told Sunday Standard yesterday that 300 retirees are expected to turn up for the protest.

The association is not against the sale of the land but fear that the property value may be below the market rate which amounts to stealing from the retirees.

“We shall convene at the Kenya Railways headquarters and start to march to the office of the Managing Director and later to the Ministry of Interior and the Office of the President to deliver copies of our memo,” said Mr Kanyeki after meeting association officials.

He regretted that they were unable to pay legal fees required by lawyers to speed up the filling of an injunction order against the sale of the property.

“We shall demonstrate to send a signal to the bidders that there is a dispute over the sale of the property. Retirees could not afford legal fees to seek an injunction,” explained Kanyeki.

Proceeds of the sale of land is expected to off set a Sh135 million loan owed to Kenya Commercial Bank which went towards payment of dues of Kenya Railways Staff Retirement Benefit Scheme members.

More than 6,800 retirees have not been paid their monthly benefits for the last seven months owing to the cash crisis.