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Protests against SGR dismissed as the ‘work of saboteurs’

The Standard Gauge Railways (SGR) cargo trains that were introduced in the country two years ago have revolutionized the transport sector. Photo by KNA.
The demonstrators in Mombasa protesting against SGR claiming the decision to have all cargo transported by the modern trains from Mombasa to Nairobi has led to loss of business for transporters and clearing and forwarding agents. Photo by KNA.

The  Coast Regional Commissioner (RC), John  Elung’ata has dismissed a series of protests by transporters in Mombasa against the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) as the work of economic saboteurs.

Addressing  reporters in his office on Tuesday at Uhuru na Kazi Building in Mombasa, Elung’ata dismissed those staging the protests as ‘misguided elements’ since no policy exists to deny truckers business.

He  accused some cartels of being behind the demonstrations for monetary gain and termed their behavior deceitful and selfish.

“The people organising the protests are not in transport business but rather busy bodies out to benefit themselves and portraying the government as insensitive,” said the RC.

Elung’ata  was reacting to a series of demonstrations in the coastal city by traders against the government over a decision to transport all cargo from the Port of Mombasa to Nairobi Inland Container Depot by SGR.

They  accused Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) of the directive which they said has led to loss of business for transporters and clearing and forwarding companies.

However, Elung’ata dismissed the claims, saying the order has now been suspended by the Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure (CS), James  Macharia.

“I have spoken with the Cabinet  Secretary  and he confirmed the directive has been suspended and therefore the demonstrations are misplaced and catalyst for disrupting law and order,” added the Administrator.

Elung’ata  noted that SGR is a public entity which need the support of the business community and all Kenyans as it plays a crucial role in the economy of the country.

He also said the government was willing to engage the transporters and other stakeholders on meaningful dialogue over the matter, saying holding demonstrations was not the solution.

Since its introduction two years ago, the Standard Gauge Railway has revolutionised the transport sector in the country.

The modern railway system has provided Kenyans with efficient, reliable and affordable mode of passenger and cargo transport.

Besides efficiency, SGR has reduced the cost of transporting cargo from Mombasa to the hinterlands.

By  Mohamed Hassan

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