, NAIROBI, Kenya, May 30 – Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe has urged leaders not to politicize the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) saying it will benefit all Kenyans.
Kiraithe further stated vandalism along the line and grandstanding statements on the basis of the railway line will not be tolerated.
He was speaking in Mombasa on Tuesday ahead of the launch of the cargo train in the afternoon by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
“Let us look this project for what it is so that as we go to inaugurate the railway, there are no groups of Kenyans who see it as an opportunity for vandalism, grand standing, theft and all kinds of mischief. Let us be able to package our development project for what it is,” he stated.
He said that the government has taken every measure to ensure everyone affected by its construction is accommodated.
“We cannot continue singing about the negative things in our society to the extent that we become a negative society. As we open the SGR tomorrow, we have already had incidences of sabotage, vandalism and one of the reasons is that the information we are passing to the public is not correct,” he indicated.
He observed that a number of Kenyans suffered inconveniences but stated that this is minor compared to the greater gains.
“There are inconveniences to be suffered but the government has put in a lot of measures. Even the rollout and implementation has a lot of safeguards in it to ensure there are no job loss that if you took a loan, you are not going to suffer,” he said.
“And so everybody has been accommodated in this project, every aspect is looked into and ultimately, it will improve what we see as our cost of living today.”
He explained that there was need for the government to invest in such like projects as they will improve the economy of the country.
“Responsible governments must invest in projects like SGR and actually continue doing so for some time so that we can reclaim the position of this country as a leading economy in this part of the world,” he stated.
“The train that will set off from Mombasa at 3 pm will be received in Nairobi between 12 am and 2 am, as the President prepares to also unveil the first passenger train tomorrow morning.”
The SGR cargo train is expected to start operations Tuesday, effectively cutting down the cost of transporting goods from Mombasa, as well as reducing time it gets to the destination.
The railway is the country’s biggest infrastructure project since independence and a key selling point for the ruling Jubilee party ahead of the August elections.
The train that will set off from Mombasa at 3 pm will be received in Nairobi between 12 am and 2 am, as the President prepares to also unveil the first passenger train tomorrow morning.
According to China Roads and Bridges Corporation Chairman Lu Shan all is set for the launch as well as Wednesday passenger train service launch.
Kenya Railways Corporation has already announced freight charges for containers at Sh50,000 per container compared to the current Sh80,000 by train and Sh90,000 by road.