News highlights May 31 2017

News highlights May 31 2017

Joho barred from attending Uhuru SGR launch

Joho barred from attending Uhuru SGR launch

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho has for the second time in three months been barred from a presidential event, this time the launch of the standard gauge railway (SGR) passenger train.

Joho was today blocked from accessing the SGR station in Miritini by officers from the General Service Unit (GSU) where President Uhuru Kenyatta was scheduled to flag off the train from Mombasa to Nairobi.

The county boss was seen arguing with security officers along with Spokesman Richard Chacha confirming that they had been ordered to turn back from the venue by the police led by Mombasa Director of Criminal Investigations Washington Muthee.

Government Spokesperson Eric Kiraithe had yesterday urged Governor Joho to follow appropriate channels if he wanted to be invited to the highly publicised event.

“My only advice for Joho is not to go to the media and tell them he wants to be part of the programme,” Kiraithe said as he addressed a media briefing on the SGR launch.

Joho had on May 29 threatened to point out massive procurement flaws in the construction of the Sh327 billion railway project that is the flagship of the Jubilee administration.

He argued that the SGR construction had been inflated by Sh100 billion as he accused Uhuru of “oiling the wheels of corruption at the expense of service delivery”.

“The project was to cost not more than Sh200 billion but the Jubilee government is telling us it has cost more than Sh300 billion. We deserve answers before the launch,” he said.

The head of state however hit back at the governor urging him to concentrate on justifying to the coastal residents why he should be re-elected in the August general elections.

“The Governor has been criticising our projects here at the Coast including this SGR project. He should focus on completing at least one of his own,” Uhuru said yesterday during the launch of the SGR cargo train.

This is the second time the Governor has been blocked from an Uhuru-project launch after he was barred from attending the Mtongwe Ferry Services launch in March 13.

Back then, Joho had accused the President of riding on projects initiated by his county administration.

Foreign envoys call for sobriety ahead of August polls

Foreign envoys call for sobriety ahead of August polls

Foreign envoys have applauded President Uhuru Kenyatta for his consistent commitment and assurance of a free, fair and peaceful election on August 8.

Under the banner, the European Union (EU) recognized Kenya’s level of preparedness for the upcoming polls and pledged its full support to the process.

“We are greatly encouraged by the commitment you once more confirmed yesterday about a peaceful, free, fair and credible election. Elections are, in my view, the most sacred moment of expression of sovereignty by the people of any country,” European Union Ambassador to Kenya, Stephano Dejak said.

“As the EU, we will be always close by to give all the support we can, including the imminent arrival of the Election Observation Mission,” he continued.

The EU delegation met President Kenyatta at State House, Nairobi, on Tuesday where they held a high-level political dialogue.

They lauded the head of state’s effort to unite Kenyans into one society, pointing out that unity was a key component to achieving the country’s development targets.

SGR: Madaraka Express takes off from Mombasa

SGR: Madaraka Express takes off from Mombasa
Kenya’s largest infrastructure project since independence, the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), has today been inaugurated by President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto in Miritini station, Mombasa.

The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), which is one of the flagship projects for the Jubilee administration, was launched under a cloud of controversy after police blocked Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho from attending the launch.

President Kenyatta presided over the launch of the Sh327 billion project witnessed by thousands of Kenyans together with top Chinese officials and Kenyan government officials.

In his address, the head of state celebrated the breakthrough saying it was a historic transformation for the country.

“Today is a historic day as we board Madaraka Express. We are a Nation proud of our achievement and focused on transformation. God Bless Kenya,” President Kenyatta said as he boarded the standard gauge railway passenger train at Mombasa.

He said the innovation will forever remain stamped in the memory of Kenyans who aspire to see their nation take its place in the new world order of the 21st century.

“Today we celebrate laying one of the key cornerstones to Kenya’s transformation to an industrialized middle-income country,” Uhuru said.

The president said ‘it all started 122 years ago with the lunatic express. Today we celebrate the launch of Madaraka Express’

However, the head of state was quick to warn anybody with intentions to vandalize the SGR that if caught, the act will amount to economic sabotage which classified as a Capital Offense in our laws.

“I warn all the vandals. Economic saboteurs will face capital punishment which will carry the death penalty,” he reckoned.

He further stated, he will sign a law to have vandals who destroy infrastructure projects hanged.

On fare charges, the president directed the Kenya Railways to lower their fees and charge Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) passengers Sh700 for the economy class from Mombasa to Nairobi and vice versa.

“We want affordable fares. From Mombasa to Nairobi should not exceed 700 shillings,” the Head of State affirmed.

President Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto, traveled by train to Nairobi in the company of Cabinet Secretaries, PSs , senior government and Chinese officials ahead of Madaraka Day celebrations in Nyeri on Thursday.


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