By David Mwenda
The country welcomed one of the biggest projects in the country recently. The project in question is the standard gauge railway which has come under a lot of praise. The press spread a lot of the cheer with a lot of reports. Some reporters like NTV’s Dan Mwangi had even short documentaries on the railway and the people using it.
The project is a good one and it has been considered a pet project for the government. They have been able to make sure they have grown this country’s infrastructure. The media has helped create a narrative of a good and happy country after the SGR. However there are some questions that have to be answered by the government. The media has however not brought some of the pertinent issues that come with the coming of a standard gauge railway.
- What happens to the old railway
This is the first question that comes to your mind but there seems to be no solution to it. The fate of the old railway has been left out. This is something that needs to be talked about by the people who are there. The old railway can be rehabilitated; this is not just according to me by a lot of reports by the World Bank which was brought in to assert the position of the rail road.
The use of the old railway needs to be questioned by the media. It is high time that things do not go to waste though it is old there is some funding that can be put to make sure that it is better. The management of the RVR needs to be revisited in order to make sure that people who were working in the old railway do not lose their jobs and what they have worked for all this years. The media needs to question whether the old railway can be transformed into something a bit better and still be in use.
- What about the cost of the railway? Was it worth it?
This is another question that has been raised by the opposition but has not been fully explained. One thing is for sure on this one. The finding for almost half of the project but the finding is extremely hideous. The country is in dire debt because of these plans and yet there seems to be no elaborate plans on handling this issue.
The cost of the railway needs to be questioned. Is there a problem with the tendering? Is there something that is wrong with the funding? Did the government make the biggest mistake in changing the agreement they had? How is this loan going to be paid by the government? These are questions worth asking and they are worth being talked about.
The other thing that needs to be talked about is the land buy out. The government has defended itself for the large budget for the project by saying that the land needed to be bought from the people who own it as opposed to countries where they just take the land. They need to make sure they have done their work in the right way and stated how they have done the right thing in making sure the figure I the settlements is done so that the program can be known.