Kenya: Cord, Jubilee Clash in Mombasa Over Railway


Cord and Jubilee senators yesterday have clashed over President Uhuru’s insistence that the construction of the Sh327 billion standard gauge railway will go on.

Speaking in Mombasa yesterday, Cord principal Moses Wetang’ula accused Uhuru of being arrogant and “whitewashing the dirty scandal” in the railway deal.

He said the manner in which the President is in a hurry to get the project going even when it is under investigations by the parliamentary Public Investments and Transport committees is suspect.

“When we heard that the President had called a special press conference at State House, many of us were delighted thinking that perhaps the conference was being called to declare a state of emergency on the matter that is going on in Turkana where people are dying of hunger, women are feeding their children with dog meat, and the situation is dire,” Wetang’ula said.

He accused Uhuru of attempting to gag everyone including Parliament, where two committees are currently probing the award of the tender to China Roads and Bridges Company.

“The least we would have expected is respect for the institution of Parliament that provides oversight, representation and legislation in the constitutional dispensation of the country,” Wetang’ula said.

He said Uhuru should tell Kenyans whether the tender was awarded after a fair, transparent and competitive bidding.

Kakamega Senator Bonny Khalwale said Uhuru once chaired the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee and vehemently pursued the Anglo-leasing scandal.

“What has changed now that he is the President? He is not using the same standard to pursue the standard gauge railway line the way he did on Anglo-leasing,” he said.

Khalwale asked Uhuru to give his take on claims made by Senate Leader of Majority Kithure Kindiki, Devolution committee chair Kipchumba Murkomen and National Assembly Leader of Majority Aden Duale that people in government who are close to the President are bribing MPs to raise these issues.

However, Jubilee senators led by Murkomen said their Cord counterparts are only out ensure their projects do not succeed.

He said there are conmen who want to hold the country hostage so that they can get their way.

“There are some people who are trying to use MPs, the courts or any other means to ensure that this project is discredited. They are the brokers,” Murkomen said.

He said the Jubilee administration cannot allow those involved in mega scandals like the Anglo-leasing and Goldenberg to derail current projects.

Murkomen said the project process began in 2008 and was spearheaded by Cord leader Raila Odinga when he was Prime Minister.

“I dare you to go and ask him (Raila) to dare oppose this project and whether it is flawed,” he said.

Nominated Senator Zipporah Kittony said Cord MPs are taking Kenya back to the 18th century. She said Jubilee is for development.

“Let those who are talking talk but we would like to open up this country for better living and better communication so that we are able to see the progress that has been put in place,” Kittony said.

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