The much hyped SGR from Naivasha to Kisumu is and was destined to be a white elephant, a product of Kenya’s endemic political corruption.
To extend the SGR to Kisumu is to waste taxpayers’ resources and more so if they are loans to be repaid with hefty interest. It was a monster of economic fraud and corruption in the making.
The SGR as we know it was conceived in the President Kibaki’s second term of 2008 to 2013 and when Raila Odinga was the Prime Minister. The SGR was correctly designed to follow the path of the existing railway line and road network that transports goods from Mombasa to Nairobi to Nakuru, Eldoret, Bungoma, Malaba and into Uganda onwards to South Sudan, Rwanda, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
In 2014 due to a scheme hatched by cronies of President Uhuru Kenyatta who own ranches in Narok County to have a piece of the billions in compensation for their land if the railway line passed through their ranches they fabricated justifications to divert the SGR from its original and only economically viable route through Nakuru, Eldoret and Malaba and divert it to Naivasha, Narok, Bomet, Kisumu.
In this economic fraud and corruption, Cabinet Secretary James Macharia in charge of transport and infrastructure was the spanner boy to make flowery arguments that the diversion made economic sense but the facts speak otherwise.
West Media raised questions about this diversion of the SGR from its original designation that would ensure the Counties of Kakamega, Bungoma and Busia enjoy the benefits of rapid modern transport if the train passed through them but our elected leaders who are still in office buried their heads in the sand like ostriches because at that time they were in political love with Hon. Raila Odinga and could not dare oppose anything that would benefit Luo Nyanza even at the detriment of their homeland Western Kenya.
Truth be told as at today and since independence 90% of goods transported from the port of Mombasa to the neighboring countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Eastern DRC, South Sudan use the line and the road link of Mombasa, Nairobi, Nakuru, Eldoret, Bungoma, Malaba.
The port of Kisumu is as dead as a dodo. So why built an SGR to end up at a dead end? And why go to Kisumu and then purport to reroute the same SGR to Busia Malaba when the direct route from Naivasha, Nakuru, Eldoret, Bungoma, Malaba is shorter and there is already existing railway land to build the SGR?
Why go to Narok, Bomet, Kisumu to buy new land? Then reach Kisumu and hope Tanzania and Uganda will built ports at Mwanza and Entebbe? And if they don’t?
Elected leaders of Kakamega, Bungoma and Busia Counties must fight for the modernization of the present railway line from Naivasha to Nakuru, Eldoret, Bungoma, Malaba and its eventual upgrade or construction into an SGR on the same route. They should desist from being cowards who start urinating on themselves and shaking in their bodies every time Luo Nyanza grabs their opportunities, rights as was being done in the diversion of the SGR from its original route of Nakuru-Eldoret, Malaba to Narok, Bomet, Kisumu.
Indeed those leaders should fight for Malaba to be made an inland dry port the way Naivasha is being done. That makes economic sense rather than wasting resources to force a port at Kisumu yet no goods are going through Kisumu at the moment.
What President Uhuru Kenyatta and Hon. Raila Odinga bureaucrats are attempting to do is to divert the current commercial exit point of goods from Kenya to Uganda and beyond from Malaba to Kisumu. Yet our elected leaders are mum as water in a pot and the economic rights of their people are about to be stolen. None of them has called for mass action or gone to court or raised the question in the National Assembly to challenge the economic imperialism of Luo Nyanza over Western on the SGR construction.
The SGR or a modernized railway line from Naivasha to Nakuru, Eldoret, Malaba makes even more economic sense as it will transport oil from Turkana County from Eldoret to Mombasa for export. The era of western Kenya sitting like a duck as its birthrights, national rights are stolen by Luo Nyanza and other parts of Kenya must come to an end if the region has to realize its true potential and lift its people from poverty.
If the Chinese can see the lie in extending the SGR to Kisumu why are our leaders in western Kenya and Kenya at large not seeing the same reality? Or is the corruption in that Naivasha Kisumu project too intoxicating for them to apply common sense?
Our leaders must wake up to knowing what are the economic assets of their region are, like the transport corridor from Mombasa, Nairobi, Eldoret, Malaba and others and be prepared to fight to the death to protect them rather loiter around with no defined non-negotiable interests of the region.