Dubbed Jubilee’s biggest project, the Standard Gauge railway run and managed by the Chinese has made the journey from Kenya’s Capital Nairobi to the port City of Mombasa easier.
But beneath this shiny veneer is a tale of pain, anguish as Chinese nationals have created a small kingdom in which they run roughshod over Kenyan workers who say they are experiencing neo-colonialism, racism and blatant discrimination as the taxpayer foots the Sh30million a day bill for the train, which loosely translates to Sh1billion at the end of every month.
An expose by The Standard revealed, that they do not share tables at their staff restaurant. Though, it is not printed in black and white, Chinese staff would never sit on the same table with Kenyans and Kenyans are not expected to join their tables either.
“Racism is so real here. There is an unwritten rule of where you need to sit. You cannot just join the Chinese table,” an assistant locomotive driver said.
He said that this divide runs to the staff vans as well where even if it only one Chinese on board, Kenyans will not use them when time for drop offs come.
“You cannot board a van that drops us in the evening even if there’s only one Chinese on board. You will have to wait,” he said.
Chinese staff are allowed excesses such as smoking while in the locomotive and use of mobile phones, crimes that will get their Kenyan counterparts fired.
“They are chain smokers and they do it inside the drivers cab. We do not have washrooms in the driver’s cab, so some relieve themselves on the track lines,” he said.
We have seen images of one of the Chinese drivers, who could not wait to go to the washrooms, literally going for a long call next to the train in the open.
But what is likely to alarm conservationists and wildlife activists is the number of wildlife that are being run over by the train as it snakes its way from Mombasa and back.
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