Tell us the SGR route, de­mand Ka­ji­ado lo­cals

‘You are cheat­ing about the SGR route. The park is not ne­go­tiable and that’s the po­si­tion of the com­mu­nity’

The Star (Kenya) - - News General - JOHN MUCHANGI @jo­munji

Of­fi­cials from the Kenya Rail­ways Cor­po­ra­tion on Wed­nes­day evening were taken to task to ex­plain how bea­cons were placed on farms with­out the knowl­edge of Ka­ji­ado land own­ers.

The meet­ing de­gen­er­ated into a heated de­bate as res­i­dents de­manded to know why Chi­nese, ac­com­pa­nied by armed po­lice, stormed their land, erect­ing bea­cons with­out their con­sent.

Kenya Rail­ways man­ag­ing direc­tor Atanas Maina was ab­sent as he was ‘held up at State House for a meet­ing’. In­stead, he del­e­gated the role to SGR ad­viser Solomon Ouna and of­fi­cials from the se­cu­rity de­part­ment and cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

On Au­gust 12, res­i­dents had given the govern­ment an ul­ti­ma­tum of two weeks to ex­plain “why Chi­nese had tress­passed”. “Find­ing the route from Mom­basa to Mal­aba is a very big chal­lenge. There are many ex­pen­sive prop­er­ties and many peo­ple un­der­stand the Con­sti­tu­tion,” Ouna said. Res­i­dents dis­ap­proval.

An ag­i­tated Africa Net­work for An­i­mal Wel­fare co­or­di­na­tor Daniel ole Osoi said, “You are cheat­ing about the SGR route. The park is not ne­go­tiable and that is the po­si­tion of the com­mu­nity.” Ac­cord­ing to Ouna, the state is ‘scratch­ing its head’ as it looks at the six op­tions for the route of the multi-bil­lion project.

Ouna tried to con­vince res­i­dents that none of the routes had been ap­proved. He said the con­tract is un­der En­gi­neer­ing, Pro­cure­ment, and Con­struc­tion where the builder looks for the pos­si­ble route, be­fore tak­ing to it to the rail­way man­age­ment for rec­om­men­da­tion and the min­istry for Cabi­net ap­proval.

“We have been told the Pres­i­dent is go­ing to launch the project on Septem­ber 26. How do you launch a project whose route has not been de­ter­mined?”Osoi said.

But Ouna said the launch is meant to en­sure the mega project kicks off suc­cess­fully. “We came here be­cause you wanted a con­ver­sa­tion. We

/AN­DREW KASUKU

A sec­tion of the SGR at DK31 Mtito An­dei on May 1

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