Two Problems with SGR: First the Cost of Phase 1 and President Kenyatta cowardly blocking of Gov. Joho!
President Uhuru Kenyatta is a coward for not letting the Governor of Mombasa County, the Orange Democratic Movement leader Hassan Ali Joho attend the launch today of the Freight Train at the Port Reitz Station in Mombasa. It seems the Jubilee Party cannot handle opposition and has to freeze them out. Even as the launch of the SGR was happening, the Police escorted him away.
Maybe because the Chinese wrote this about the Kenyan Railway:
“Kiraithe added that the government, through the ministries of finance, transport and environment, hasbeen heavily involved in accelerating the completion of the SGR built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation.“But the infrastructure is for Kenyans and has been achieved to improve our living standards,” Kiraithe said. In 2013, President Xi Jinping and his Kenyan counterpart, Kenyatta, witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding on financing the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR. The Export Import Bank of China financed 80 percent of the project” (Morangi, 2017).
“I was among a group of people who wrote a letter to the president [Uhuru Kenyatta], specifically with regards to the value for money proposition,” political analyst Tom Mboya told RFI on Tuesday. At a staggering cost of nearly four billion euros–almost entirely funded by China’s Export Import bank– just for the first phase linking the capital Nairobi to the port city Mombasa, there is reason to be concerned, reckons economist Aly-Khan Satchu” (Okello, 2017).
The Presidency statement on it:
“President Kenyatta, who was flanked by Deputy President William Ruto and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, said every Kenyan should be proud of the Standard Gauge Railway. “I call upon all Kenyans whatever their political beliefs to celebrate, today we should be together holding hands in celebrations,” said the President moments after the cargo train pulled alongside the Presidential Dias waiting for the flag off. It was song and dance as choirs played patriotic songs apt for the moment. “This is the Kenya we seek and this is the Kenya we want our children to inherit from us and their children to inherit from them,” said President Kenyatta amid applause, cheers and ululation. President Kenyatta said the SGR will make the port of Mombasa more efficient and will enhance the performance of the facility where the Jubilee Government has invested more than Sh60 billion in the last four years” (Presidency, 2017).
By the Statement made by the Presidency yesterday means that the Government spent: 60bn times 4 Shs. 240bn on the Standard Gauge Railway. Still, the East African reported differently earlier in the month: “So far, Sh327 billion has been spent on the first phase of the railway between Mombasa and Nairobi and Sh150 billion on the Nairobi-Naivasha section. With a national population of about 46 million, every Kenyan is set to owe China Sh18,413 in SGR debt once the deal is sealed” (…) “The SGR has been President Kenyatta’s pet project since he came to power” (Mutambo & Omondi, 2017). So if this is true, than the Presidency are dropping different numbers than the papers. Clearly the government trying to look more efficient, than what they are in reality. This should worry since most of the building of the SGR are based on development loans from the Exim Bank.
Is this why the words of and address to this from Joho is so striking:
“In the light of this, we hereby demand that
1. That the government release the terms of the contract with the Chinese Exim Bank, the details of disbursement and attendant relavant information
2. The Government of Kenya release all details of the Take or Pay contract between KPA and the financiers? What is the goods threshold and the responsibility of collection of the these fees.
3. Due to conflicting reports, the government clarify in details all charges related to goods and their destinations.
4. The government clarify the method of nomination of goods for rail and the point and implementation of charges.
5. The government clarify the extinction date of the Railway Development Levy on goods and come clean on the amounts collected since.
6. The government release the terms of the port concession, all monies paid and the details of the contract
7. The the Government clarify the details of site selection of Naivasha as a dry port. The feasibility study and the project appraisal report.
8. That the government release the “Willingness to Pay” survey of the goods for meant for railway and the feasibility report of the proposed Naivasha Special Economic Zone.
9. And that the Jubilee government show us their plan for Mombasa” (Hon. Ali Hassan Joho, 31.05.2017).
By all means the Governor of Mombasa wants to know the realities of the SGR, but that is something every single Kenyan deserves as this is the pet-project of Kenyatta. Kenyatta might be proud of Phase 1, but can the government carry the price of the trains and lines. Or is this is a stunt for development?
That the Governor was blocked from the Train Station that is opened in his county, as he was blocked from the relaunch of the ferries in March 2017. Shows that the Jubilee cannot handle opposition or their eyes on their projects. They are so initiated to represent the whole community, that if the community and citizens elects opposition. Than they are not allowed to enter public displays and their launching of projects. This has now been proven twice. That the Jubilee cannot handle NASA leadership or ODM party leaders. If they could than they would have entertained and made it possible for Governor Joho to be at the state functions as he is the local elected leadership of Mombasa county. Is that hard for the President and his deputy?
But the President and his Team is cowards who cannot even have the local government leadership at the launch of SGR at the Port Reitz Station. Peace.
Morangi, Lucie – ‘ Chinese-built SGR to improve Kenya’s global standing’ (30.05.2017) link:http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2017-05/30/content_29548836.htm
Mutambo, Aggrey & Omondi, George – ‘Uhuru seeks Sh370bn more to extend railway to Kisumu’ (16.05.2017) link: http://mobile.nation.co.ke/news/Kenya-requests-for-Sh370bn-for-SGR-third-phase/1950946-3928546-15jp48i/index.html
Okello, Christina – ‘Kenya’s ambitious new railway raises cost concerns’ (31.05.2017) link: http://en.rfi.fr/africa/20170530-kenya-4bn-railway-opens-amid-controversy-kenyatta-china
Presidency – ‘New dawn for Kenya as Standard Gauge Railway rolls out services’ (30.05.2017) link: http://www.president.go.ke/2017/05/30/new-dawn-for-kenya-as-standard-gauge-railway-rolls-out-services/