Monday September 7, 2020 – The planned merger between Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Railways Corporation and Kenya Pipeline Company by the Government has attracted fierce opposition from human rights activists and transport sector players.
The two groups claim that the merger will lead to China taking over control of the Port of Mombasa with the country yet to complete the payment of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) loans.
According to activists, African Star Railways Cooperation owned by China Road and Bridges Cooperation is set to take over the busy port.
Speaking yesterday, Salim Karama, a member of Okoa Mombasa, claimed that the media has been blocked from reporting about the impending takeover of the port.
“It cannot be reported in the media that China has already taken over the port, the name Kenya Ports Authority is also set to change,” he claimed.
Karama noted that Kenya Railways Corporation is struggling to pay its debt to China citing the court’s decision to rule the SGR tender illegal.
Should President Uhuru Kenyatta fail to withdraw the merger, the activists have threatened to stage a nationwide strike to oppose the move.
The activists also cited lack of public participation in the move to merge the three state-owned corporations.
“There is zero public participation, there is zero input from parliament, there is zero input from stakeholders including the Kenya Transporters Association, it can only mean that is not good for the country,” lamented one of the activists.
The activists and transport sector players have accused President Uhuru of hiding behind executive orders to effect ‘illegal’ policies such as the mandatory transportation of cargo to Naivasha via SGR.
The merger is set to be signed on Tuesday, September 8th, under the Kenya Transport Logistics Network.
The repayment of the principal loan extended to Kenya for the first phase of the mega railway project was to start in January 2020, according to an agreement signed with Exim Bank of China in May 2014.
The Kenyan DAILY POST