By GORDON OSEN
•Rights lobby documents 81 cases of killings of residents by police, criminal gangs and mob lynchings since January last year to March this year.
• SGR replaced clearing, forwarding and trucking industry jobs youths did, so many resorted to crime
Youths are sinking deeper into poverty and resorting to crime as the standard gauge gauge railway has taken their jobs,HAKI Africa has said.
Executive director Hussein Khalid told the Star his organisation has carried out a survey that directly links the hard economic times in the region to the SGR.
He said it has smothered the businesses and commercial activitiess, such as trucking, which used to provide income.
“Our region is experiencing unprecedented economic hardship because mainly the SGR has replaced numerous businesses, big and small provided jobs. Some have unfortunately esorted to crime for sustenance,” Khalid said.
For example, he said, numerous clearing and forwarding agents closed after a container terminal was established in Embakasi, meaning that even goods destined for Mombasa have to be processed in Nairobi first.
This left many young men who worked as loaders and other jobs without work. Hence, crime increased, Khalid said.
“Nowadays driving from Mombasa to Nairobi takes two to three hours less because there are no trucks on the road. Their work was taken up by the train. This is very sad as locals are choking under painful poverty,” Khalid added.
The SGR has not been making money and the state ordered most cargo to be handled by SGR, not truckers.
The Coast-based rights group submitted its human rights survey report to the Senate’s Justice, Legal Affairs and Human Rights committee.
It indicated 81 killings by police criminal gangs and mobs from January last year to this march.
Al Shabaab returnees represent some of these statistics, but the great majority died in crime-related killings, the report said.
Fifty-six of the 81 killings re believed to have been committed by securty officers16 by criminal gangs and nine by members of the public mainly through mob lynchings.
The outfit asked the Senate committee to push for a judicial inquiry into the rampant cases of enforced disappearances alleged to be perpetrated by security forces. The report cites 32 disappearances during the perod of the study.
“Most public inquiries on this issue in the region have only resulted in reports filling shelves. Having both the judicial and public inquiries run concurrently is the way to go,” he said.
The Simon Cheraragei-led committee held public hearing on Monday, with families expressing their anguish over deaths and disappearances.
The report is an extract from a more detailed report titled ‘The Quest for Kenya’s Third Liberationon: The State of Human Rights at the Coast to be submitted to the AU’s human rights’ arm later this year.
Source The Star