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Hassan Joho blocked from Madaraka Express launch

Wednesday May 31 2017

Police block Governor Hassan Joho from

Police block Governor Hassan Joho from attending the launch of the new train service at the Miritini station in Mombasa on May 31, 2017. PHOTO | MOHAMED AHMED | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MOHAMED AHMED
By MOHAMED AHMED
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Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho was on Wednesday blocked from attending the launch of the Standard Gauge Railway passenger train.

Mr Joho threatened to move to court to stop Kenya Ports Authority from guaranteeing the loan for the building of the SGR.

He claimed that the government made KPA sign an agreement forcing it to pay for the loan.

“Why is it that they had to get KPA to sign the agreement while the project is being undertaken by Kenya Railways?

Why do you create a threshold for certain containers to be moved by rail?

FORCED TO PAY LOAN

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Why do you threaten KPA that if they do not meet the threshold they will be forced to pay the loan?” He asked.

The deputy ODM party leader said that the government has set the number of containers that will be forcefully moved by railway line.

Mr Joho said he will consult national leaders including Nasa flag bearer Raila Odinga on the position they are going to take on the issue.

“Our problem is not SGR as such, but the balance of several interests that must be taken care of.

We must delink the port of Mombasa from guaranteeing this loan. It should take a loan to develop its own infrastructure first,” he said.

The governor said he was blocked from the launch because of the questions he was going to ask. He also claimed that the container cargo flagged off by President Kenyatta on Tuesday was moved without consent of the owners.

MOVED CONTAINERS
On Tuesday, the President hit out at Mr Joho for questioning Jubilee development in the region.

“Yesterday (Wednesday) they went ahead and moved the containers. The cargo was moved without the owners being consulted or informed. They randomly picked the containers and moved them to Nairobi.
There are some companies that went to the port to clear their containers only to be informed that their cargo had been moved to an Inland Container Depot,” said Mr Joho.

Mr Joho said the SGR project was meant to kill the Coast economy and the port but he will stand firm to ensure that thousands of youth do not lose their jobs.

“They made a fool of us by saying we cannot carry the port in some rucksack and take it to Naivasha but we know it very well that they can move the operations. That means operations which create employment for the entire region will be killed,” he said.

Mr Joho questioned why transport of cargo was being restricted to be moved through the new railway line.

PROMOTE TRADE

He said the government should put a free port in Mombasa to promote trade.

“However, what they are doing is to shut down our businesses in totality,” he said.

 There are fears the SGR trains could kill thousands of jobs in transport sector at the Coast.

Mr Joho says the cost of the SGR was also exaggerated by Sh100 billion.

Mr Joho was also blocked by security guards from attending the the re-launch of Mtongwe ferry services by President Kenyatta in March.

On Tuesday, President Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto hit at Mr Joho for questioning the Jubilee administration development at the Coast.

Mr Ruto said billions of shillings had been used to build roads at the port city.