NAIROBI August 28 – Attempts by the residents of Makongeni estate to block Kenya Railways from evicting them has been rejected by the High Court after the tenants sought legal redress.,
Vacation judge Roslyne Wendo however allowed the resident, Peter Bosire Matongo, who filed a suit on behalf of other residents on Wednesday, to challenge the move in court on September 4.
Matongo, who was a former employee of the corporation, had sought to temporarily block trustees of the Retirement Benefits Scheme and Kenya Railways Corporation from ejecting them over a rent dispute.
He claimed that he was rightfully provided with housing in Makongeni as an employee of the railway corporation in 1999, and added that, according to a circular earlier issued in January 2007, all employees have equal opportunity to lease the houses.
“As a term of my employment, the corporation provided me with housing at Makongeni along Jogoo Road of Nairobi, House J4 Door 1 which I still occupy to date,” Matongo indicated in an affidavit.
He also argued that the scheme had increased payable rent by between Sh1,000 and Sh2,000 for different housing units, without justifiable reason, which he contests is commensurate to the status of the houses that he said were in a deplorable condition.
He submitted that most of the residents facing eviction have not been paid any salaries or termination dues and therefore have no means to pay the new rent rates.
“I wish to retain the house I presently occupy and equally my co-plaintiffs are desirous of continuing to retain the housing units, but will not be able to do so in view of the current increase in rent,” he complained.
Matongo insists that he and the other residents are willing to pay the rent for as long as it would be reasonable, after a proper valuation has been taken by an independent valuer.
On Monday, the area residents took to the streets to protest the forceful eviction by the corporation’s employees and police officers.
They blocked the busy Jogoo Road, interrupting traffic, and one of the protesters was shot dead during the protest.