In late october 2013 , Kenyans awoke to the sad news of a fatal
accident involving a train and a matatu operating on the Umoja route .
In keeping with our notorious tradition of locking the gate after the
horse had long bolted , the cabinet secretary transport and
infrastructure acted by cancelling the operating licence of the
Umoiner sacco whose buses , he claimed , operated without valid
licences. Coming from the Cabinet secretary , it was a damning
indictment on the traffic department of the police and his ministry ,
whose staff are guilty of complicity in circumventing the laws .
The cabinet secretary gave an order to demolish all structures ,
residential and business , constricting the railway line . His concern
was that the proximity of these structures to the railway line was a
threat to life . Two months down the line , with little or nothing
having been done to clear either side of the railway line of
encroachment , an accident happened that injured many . The cabinet
secretary has been
vindicated but a lethargic bureaucracy did not
actualise his order in time , hence should be held accountable for
the injuries and any deaths not yet reported .
It is not out of choice , but ignorance and desperation that these
people gamble with their own lives . The proliferation of tin shacks
along the railway line did not happen overnight . Those in authority
allowed them to grow .These shacks house people who dont have the
means to live a decent life , more specifically , those who have
nothing to look forward to . It may sound good to move these people
away from the railway line for their own safety , but what alternative
accomodation does the government have for them ? Often , once the
bulldozers come and flatten everything in their path , it becomes the
end of the chapter . It does not matter that these people have been
rendered homeless in a hostile world , having also lost the only
possesions they had .
Housing is one the major problems facing kenyans in urban areas and
even with governmment promises to put up affordable houses , there is
very little , if anything , that is being done . The rural urban
migration dictated by poverty and the need to search for jobs
compounds the situation . In kibera , for instance , beneficiaries of
the low cost houses put up to help the poor were well paid civil
servants . Who will come to the aid of the poor man who cannot speak
for himself if he is constantly on the periphery of the governments
blurred vision ?


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