The SGR services were launched this week. After seeing the dazzling pictures and learning that it takes five hours to travel from Nairobi to Mombasa as opposed to the crazy 12+ hours the old junk railway took, I was very excited about the development.
I took pictures and rushed to tell my son the big news. The dude loves his country. We are travelling home in the next two weeks and he has been bagging me about visiting Mombasa and Lamu.
The young man has great interest in architectural sciences and he thinks Coastal housing designs all the way from Morocco to Zanzibar to Kenya offer exceptional opportunities for people to study architecture at another level.
He has been amazed by designs going back to the 15th and 16th century in coastal cities. In Zanzibar for example Ibn Batuta ( a brutal colonizer) actually introduced some truly stunning housing designs. For the royalty of course.
To cut a very long story very short, I was delighted to tell the man that yes, we will be going to Mombasa and now we have a brand new railway system to explore as we go there. He asked me how long I think this thing will keep working leave alone keep clean. I told him we are Kenyans and we know how to wreck things quick but we will hang on to this one.
Now the more I dig in to find the story behind the story for the SGR project the more scary it looks, never mind Uhuru’s childish pettiness in fighting Joho, the more scary the whole thing looks. It seems Kenyans are going to have to auction their blood to pay for this thing.
What the heck is up with this SGR thing? Anybody knows.
Here we go.
SGR ‘bitter pill to swallow’ for Coast residents – Joho
May. 31, 2017, 6:00 pm
By GOVERNOR HASSAN JOHO
The Standard Gauge Railway Mombasa Terminus at night. /MONICAH MWANGIThe Standard Gauge Railway Mombasa Terminus at night. /MONICAH MWANGI
When the Standard Gauge Railway was conceived under the Kibaki/Raila administration, it was a moment full of joy and promise for Kenya. It was born with every stakeholder in mind. The benefits and losses were balanced fairly throughout the country of Kenya. The future was full of limitless possibilities.
But it has now become a bitter pill to swallow. Especially for the coastal people and Mombasa. When the Jubilee regime came to power, their ascension became our misery. The best of their time is now the worst of ours. Their “spring of hope” has become our “winter of despair”.
That a modern railway was due in Kenya is not the question. The problem is that the obscene inflation of the price under Jubilee has made it too expensive for kenya. To cater for this cost, the jubilee administration has had to provide a number of guarantees to ensure the realization of this project. Key amongst the guarantees is that they have mortgaged the economic future of Mombasa. The port of Mombasa. Our birthright!
We would like the people of Kenya to know, we are a city at risk. Not only have they concessioned away the port of Mombasa in secret, the SGR will kill the city. Like the children of the biblical Isaac, one of us has sold his brothers birthright.
Key amongst the guarantees that have been conceded by the GOK for this project to come to like are:
a. Financial Guarantees
1. A “Take or Pay” contract with the Kenya Ports Authority. This means if the KPA cannot provide certain amount of goods, they have to pay the Chinese Exim Bank the difference.
2. The Railway Development Levy 1.5% RDL, this is a charge levied on ALL goods passing the port of Mombasa to satisfy the 10% local financing of the project.
3. A sovereign guarantee was issued by the National Treasury, Government of Kenya guaranteeing this loan.
b. Non Financial Guarantees
1. A Dry Port in Naivasha to move port operations.
2. A special economic zone in Naivasha to create new source of goods for the railway.
3. The disregard of the current concession with the old railway.
4. The privatisation and concession of the Port of Mombasa to private players to seek efficiency.
5. The guarantee by compulsion of goods from road traffic to rail at a higher cost
Consequences of this project are:
1. The immediate loss of Jobs for over 7000 current port employees, their dependants and affiliated businesses
2. The death of all port related business in Mombasa. From Trucking, Loading, Clearing and forwarding, Warehousing, logistics and others.
3. The arrest of all logistics-related future development.
4. The death of related logistics cities and towns along trucking routes on Nairobi-Mombasa highway.
In the light of this, we hereby demand that:
1. The government release the terms of the contract with the Chinese Exim Bank, the details of disbursement and attendant relevant 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.
I wish to reiterate to the people of Mombasa and the coast at large, I will not have performed my duty before God and the people if I do not stand firm against this issue. I pray that you stand by your leaders as we seek to determine what future our country holds for us.
I wish to declare that you are the determinant of that future. You have a choice. On 8/8/17, make the right choice. Vote for Raila Amollo Odinga and Kalonzo Musyoka.