By Brian Wasike –
Residents of western Kenya expressed a sigh of relief following reports that china had rejected Kenyan governments request for funding the Naivasha – Kisumu SGR. Earlier this week, President Uhuru Kenyatta travelled to China alongside the former Prime Minister Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga to solicit funding that would have seen construction of the new SGR commence in August 2019.The cost of the new project was estimated to be 380 Billion Shillings.
Speaking to Kenyan Report following these new revelations, the Western Youth Council coordinator, Mr. Wakoli Kunani, said that the new development was God send and an answer to their prayers. The western Youth Council, a group formed to address and raise awareness of the continued isolation of western Kenya by the government from consideration of billions of shillings in development projects was in the process of organizing protests along the Webuye – Malaba road next week to address this issues.
It is alleged that the new SGR had ignored the previous design, which was cheaper and economical, instead, favored a new Railway line, designed to appease cartels waiting to cash in on the land compensation.
The cost per Kilometer of the new line was so high after factoring in land compensation, hence, subjecting the economic viability of the new project into scrutiny.
Even with a promise of extending the SGR to Malaba from Kisumu, there was no guarantee that it would happen considering that funding for each phase of the project is independent just as the Nairobi – Naivasha Funding was. That means that the new president taking over in 2022 would need to have the will and motivation to look for funding the Kisumu to Malaba phase. Which would depend of several factors and or would be subject to rejection like Naivasha – Kisumu phase.
According to Prof. Kunusia, the aspiring candidate for Kimilili constituency in the upcoming 2022 general elections, Kenya needs to put its priorities in order. Prof. Kunusia believes that the government needs to carry out research before boarding a plane to china to suffer international humiliation and embarrassment after rejection. He decried lack of patriotism among policy makers in the country who he chided as promoting self-serving interest as opposed to implementing economically viable projects that are meant to benefit the ordinary Mwananchi.
It remains to be seen how western Youth Council will proceed following the rejection of the loan by the Chinese. Mr. Wakoli Kunani, the coordinator of the group believes that the Western Youth Alliance movement will evolve into a stronger and formidable group that will influence decision makers in matters western Kenyan including the 2022 general election ensuring that western Kenya resident elect leaders who champion their interests rather than their personal gains.