NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 9 – The first passenger train on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) will take off on June 1, 2017 at 8am according to Deputy President William Ruto.
Speaking when he addressed the first Jubilee National Delegates Convention at the Kasarani National Stadium, Ruto said the government was proud that the long awaited railway line will be ready for use by mid next year.
“The first SGR that replaces the metre gauge railway that is 100 years plus old, I am very proud today to tell that on the 1st of June at 8 am… mark the date, the SGR will carry the first passengers from Nairobi to Mombasa,” he promised.
“If you want a ride, you better book in advance.”
He said despite negative criticism by people who thought the Jubilee Government would not deliver, together with President Uhuru Kenyatta, they stayed focused on delivering the promises stated in their manifesto.
Ruto who mainly focused on Jubilee’s achievements in delivering its promises made ahead of its election in 2013, elaborated on strategies employed to transform lives of Kenyans through infrastructural development, job creation and provision of public services such as health and education.
“Every part of Kenya has felt Jubilee’s transformation agenda. Leadership of our country is not about stories but about the agenda that will change the lives of Kenyans,” he said as he invited critics to discuss Jubilee’s scorecard.
Revisiting the controversial promise of giving laptops to all standard one pupils, Ruto said all the remaining children without laptops will have one by December this year.
Acknowledging the challenge of the two-thirds gender rule that remains unfulfilled, Ruto promised the delegates that Jubilee will ensure women are given an opportunity to take up important leadership positions.
“This party will not condemn our women leaders to flower girls; I want to give you that assurance, you have space and opportunity in Jubilee and we will go out of our way to ensure we have women in serious positions in Jubilee.”
He was responding to concerns raised by Runyenjes MP Cecily Mbarire who was concerned that since the gender rule had not seen light in the Senate, women would be downtrodden politically and in positioning them in high leadership seats.
Mbarire however urged women to vie for elective posts and not wait for nominations.
“We cannot continue crying anymore. It’s the time we should start believing in ourselves. We shall go and fight it out there. We will fill those positions with elected women, there’s no turning back.
“We are not going to be flower girls. We want to be at the decision making table,” she added.
During Jubilee’s first ever NDC held on Friday, Meru Senator Kiraitu Murungi led the delegates to endorse the unified agreement that they dissolve their parties, adopt the interim constitution as well as nomination and election rules.
The delegates also endorsed President Kenyatta and Ruto as JP leader and deputy leader.
As a measure to ensure there will be fair nominations within Jubilee, Ruto pledged that the party would engage the Independent and Electoral Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to conduct its party nominations.
“We have agreed that nominations are problematic because of lack of logistical capacity to make sure that party nominations are credible and transparent. Jubilee believes in fairness and everybody must get justice,” he announced that the government would even allocate a fund to IEBC to assist willing parties.
“The GoK will spend public resources to ensure credible parties are among parties wishing to use IEBC. We want to iron out problems at nominations within the party,” he stated.