‘Okoa Mombasa Coalition’ has filed an Access to Information request with the Government seeking the release of agreements, contracts and other documents relating to the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and Container Terminal 2 (CT2) at the Port of Mombasa.
The two public infrastructure projects are shrouded in secrecy and marred with lack of public participation, despite their massive cost and sweeping impact on Kenya’s economy.
“Kenyans are tired of being treated as children, we are tired of filtered public information information,” said Muslims for Human Rights Chairperson and Okoa Mombasa Member Khelef Khalifa.
He cautioned the government against mortgaging the country’s future.
“Our request is simple: Show us the contracts so we can decide for ourselves. This is our right under the Constitution.” he added.
The US$ 3.6 billion SGR is the most expensive infrastructure project in Kenya’s history, and was financed mostly via loans through the Export-Import Bank of China.
Despite the enormous cost, agreements related to the project’s financing have never been made public.
President Uhuru Kenyatta promised to release the contracts in 2018, but the promise was never fulfilled.
Recent reports indicate that the SGR is incapable of producing enough revenue to repay the loans used to build it, leaving taxpayers on the hook.
In an attempt to shore up revenues, the Government has been forcing cargo from the Mombasa port to be loaded exclusively onto the SGR and shipped to Nairobi, bypassing the network of port operations in the Coast region.
The move has sent Mombasa economy which heavily depends on the port on its knees.
Okoa Mombasa has requested all agreements entered between the Government or any State agency with all service providers and or third parties, including foreign governments, in regard to the SGR.
Container terminal 2
Meanwhile CT2 is one of the most modern container terminals in East Africa, and a highly profitable asset for its public operator, the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
[MUHURI Rapid Response Officer Francis Auma (Close right) joining other activists and locals in anti- SGR protest in Mombasa. Photo/Ahmed Omar].
The terminal recently underwent a massive overhaul funded at taxpayer expense.
Despite its success, the Government wants to transfer the terminal to Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL), which is 47% owned by the private Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC).
The takeover was in October blocked by court, but the government is appealing the ruling.
Okoa Mombasa believes the privatization of CT2 could lead to the loss of thousands of well-paid, union jobs
Our request calls for the release of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government, KNSL and MSC relating to the operation of CT2.
The Access to Information request was formerly served on 16 Dec 2019.
Under Section 9 of the Access to Information Act, the Government has 21 days to respond to the request.