China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), a subsidiary of China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC), was contracted by Kenya Railways Corporation to build a new standard gauge railway (SGR) line for passengers and cargo transportation between Mombasa, the largest port in East Africa, and Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. The new railway line constitutes the first phase of the SGR project that aims to connect Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. The project is to be build according to Chinese railway design standards.
The single-track standard gauge railway between Mombasa and Nairobi will have a route length of 472km and a total length of 609km. It will run through the counties of Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Taita-Taveta, Makueni, Kajiado, Machakos and Nairobi.
The government through Kenya Railways Corporation might have had noble intentions but their messengers the dragon that is CRBC and CCCC is quickly spiralling out of control. The railway project has been designed with little regard (arrogance) for existing infrastructure of pipelines, water pipes, existing highways and other infrastructure. They will argue on paper that this is hogwash and that no conflicts exists whatsoever with any stakeholders.
However those in the know will tell a different story. The railway contractor is bulldozing his way breaking every law in the book just to finish this rail. If you dig deep you will unearth so many conflicts with Nema, Kenya Pipeline, Kenya Power, KWS, KeNHA, KURA, and other stake holders. It is no wonder that most Chinese firms cannot be funded by reputable lenders like the World Bank, OPEC, and AfDB. The bullying and instigated corruption that these firms bring is mind boggling. Any resistance is handled by either induction of bribes, intimidation or sacking.
Because President Uhuru Kenyatta has hinged the lifeline of his presidency on the completion of the SGR, the Chinese have blanket control of all Government agencies, who are afraid to question anything for fear of reprisal from Statehouse.
The Maasais have been the greatest adversaries, they have demanded and rightly so that they be given crossing culverts and bridges for existing access roads for themselves and their livestock. They have fought a good fight and in most cases won but still there exists other missing access culverts.
Wildlife migratory corridors have been choked by this unnecessary project that’s gobbled up a quarter of the country’s GDP, with no published feasibility study or status report. Infact, anytime the then Secretary of Delivery Nzioka Waita was asked to provide an official progress report, he asked individuals to drive down Mombasa Road and take photos of its stunning beauty. The lack of co-ordination has seen lions escape the National Park and roam freely in the City of Nairobi, with rumors being rife that land along the railway and within the Nairobi National Park has been grabbed by individuals associated with UhuRuto. The Deputy President is a known land-grabber who once tried to grab a children’s playground.
In most sections of the Railway where the railway is crossing major roads there has been conflict due to clearance for vehicles passing under the railways (especially trailers ) as well as width of openings due to future expansions of the roads. Once built it will be extremely expensive bordering on impossible to demolish the railway to expand for example a road e.g. A109, Wote-Makindu road , Kibwezi-Kitui road or Voi town roads.
Yet the “Clever” Chinese have not given adequate clearance in most cases in both height and width. If you want proof of this why then would an existing road be cut (creating a sag which is a drainage nightmare) hurriedly whereas the designer would have while designing looked at the vertical profile and raised the rail.
What standards are used to design the cut roads (Chinese? Or Kenya), who is supervising the roads (that are being done so that no one notices them). Who is checking on the quality of the said roads? Who has jurisdiction? KENHA, KERA and KURA? What are the pavements and who approved them?
In the “mashinani” where most of these parastatals far from Nairobi can’t be able to monitor, there is growing disquiet that some of the above mentioned roads have been redesigned to cater for the railways (approved in Nairobi). What are we saying? There are existing roads (over 10 years old) that will be cut and lowered for heights above 1.5m to give clearance for trucks to pass under the Railway bridges which was an afterthought by the arrogant Chinese designers who refused to recognize and heed to the advice of the Roads authority representatives on the ground in the first place. More so the Kenyan supervisor’s advice was shunned and scoffed at.
The only reason these Chinese contractors are arrogant is because they know that they have the patronage and protection of an incompetent President, who in a bid to excite simple Kenyans that he has fulfilled an electoral-pledge, is willing to risk going against all environmental of infrastructural concerns, so as to complete this SGR, that will come at a huge cost to the country’s ecosystem and affect our transport and tourism sectors.
Its common sense that if you design a new railway then it should be done to accommodate and respect existing infrastructure as much as possible and if not then compensate or relocate to an agreeable standard the affected persons. These dragons must be investigated and where they have erred because of arrogance be made to pay heavily to teach them a lesson. If persons heading these state parastatals have colluded with the Chinese thieves, then they should answer for it. Try and break such laws in China see what happens. Why then should foreigners dictate to us in our own country?
The blame on this lies squarely on President Uhuru Kenyatta. He is the one who has made it his business to meddle with every single Government institution often to the detriment of the country. There was one time a demolition of houses built on road-reserves was halted after Nairobi Senator Mike Sonko telephoned Uhuru and put him on loud speaker, in similar fashion as how he has given the Chinese the authority to flagrantly disregard all Kenyan engineers and planners, so as to finish a faulty project.
Wake up Uhuru! Kenyans are tired of your nonsense.