Raila, CS Macharia now say Kisumu SGR plan still on


ODM leader Raila Odinga with CSs James Macharia, Peter Munya and John Munyes in Kisumu ...
ODM leader Raila Odinga with CSs James Macharia, Peter Munya and John Munyes in Kisumu on Monday, May 13, 2019.

Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga has rubbished reports that the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project will not reach Kisumu.

Speaking on Monday, the ODM leader was categorical that the China trip to seek a Ksh.350billion loan for the extension of the SGR project did not fail.

“We never failed in China…the media has been coming up with all sorts of propaganda…I mentioned and I want to repeat….Naivasha, Narok, Bomet, Nyamira, Sondu, Kisumu…that is the line of SGR,” he said during a tour of development projects in Kisumu.

Interestingly, Raila made the statement in the company of Transport CS James Macharia, who last month told the national broadcaster KBC that ‘the government has put on hold the extension of the SGR line from Naivasha to Kisumu as it seeks favourable financing terms with lenders.’

During the interview, CS Macharia further said the government would instead revive the old meter gauge railway line at a cost of Ksh.21billion.

On Monday, the CS confirmed the pledge to construct the SGR from Naivasha to Kisumu but did not commit to a timeline.

“After doing that Malaba wing…or artery of MGR we shall now say look, we have a profitable line all the way from Mombasa to Malaba which can also help us fund this leg now from Naivasha to Kisumu,” CS Macharia said.

His statement comes two weeks after Raila and President Uhuru Kenyatta returned from a trip to China where they attended separate meetings at the the Second Belt and Road Forum in Beijing.

Upon their return, no mention was made of the SGR loan with State House only noting that the President witnessed the signing of two project delivery agreements amounting to Ksh.67billion.

Konza Data Center and the Smart Cities Project to be be undertaken by Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei at a cost of Ksh.17.5 billion were the only two projects mentioned in the statement.

The two leaders had not spoken about the SGR loan until Monday when Raila, who was also accompanied by CSs John Munyes (Mining) and Peter Munya (Trade), broke his silence on the matter.

Raila and the three CSs visited Ombeyi in Muhoroni Sub County where 500acres of land has been set aside to construct a special economic zone.

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Story By Laura Otieno
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