Kenya railway created by Indian “coolies” and Kenyan “kada cia mwoko” in loose translation ” lowly-paid hired hands” under the whip of the British Colonial master,has been transformed to an ultra-modern, sophisticated, world class infrastructure that left vision 2030 dazed by beating its deadline all because of the unrelenting efforts of his Excellency President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Irrespective of that, he has made mind boggling achievements that have never been witnessed in the East African economic powerhouse. In his speech on June 1st,he cited incredible facts stating that during his leadership he has accomplished more in seven years than all the previous governments combined.
He noted that for the 78 years the British iron-hand ruled Kenya, they built only 1800 kilometers of tarmac.translating to a childs-spoon 23 kilometers yearly.
To further illuminate “Wanjiku”(citizenry) he stated that “President’s Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki in their 50–year tenure built an extra 11,200 kilometres of road “tarmac”. This was 10 times more than what the colonizers had accomplished.
With no need to brag, he pointed out that, Since taking over from Mwai Kibaki, his government has built an average of 1000 kilometres of road every year.
The number, he adds, is 44 times more than what the colonial administration built and 4 times more than what Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel Moi and Mwai Kibaki did in 50 years.
Now leaving the calf and addressing the elephant in the room, the SGR seemed an alien “StarTrek” unfathomable 2030 project assigned to the confines of 2030 dream, but was achieved in no time by the steadfast will of the most charismatic President of Africa since Sankara Thomas.
The Vision 2030 flagship plan was induced labor to hasten the development goals of President Uhuru Kenyatta.To be precise, he noted that apart from the SGR, his government has also embarked on reviving the defunct Nairobi-Nanyuki railway line which traverses six counties as well as the soon-to-start (started this month) rehabilitation of the Naivasha-Malaba metre gauge.
The revival of the Nanyuki-Nairobi dead and buried railway, is another quantum-leap that exemplifies the rebirth of Koitalel arap Samoei’s “iron-snake”, but this time helping the natives.It will aid in transportation of Petroleum products with ease not just to Central Kenya and minimise pump fuel prices onwards to South Ethiopia due to transport cost savings by road.
At 27 billion dollars,the Mt.Kenya region is a paramount economic bloc in East and Central Africa. its larger than Sudan, Burundi and South Sudan.Agriculture is the prevalent economic activity accounting for 52% of Capital earned.
it is thriving. At just over $11 billion (in year 2007), it is larger than the country’s total economy at independence!.Milk and beef continue to be important, particularly for Laikipia, milk and potatoes for Nyandarua and horticulture and floriculture for all three — Laikipia, Nyandarua and Nakuru.
So moving agricultural inputs such as fertiliser to Laikipia, Isiolo, Meru
( with an added advantage of the “green gold” khat, miraa) Murang’a, Tharaka Nithi, Kirinyaga,Embu, and so on, and taking produce to market remains a viable proposition for the railway.Satisfactorily functioning logistics is a crucial enabler of any vibrant economy.
Kenya’s current spatial distribution of economic activity follows the original transport corridor, running from Mombasa through Nairobi to Kisumu and Malaba and onwards to Kampala.
That is part of the reason we expect the Lappsset corridor will generate a whole new development corridor, running from Lamu through Isiolo north-west towards South Sudan and northwards from to Ethiopia. As this corridor develops, there is immediate need to connect it to the existing Mombasa-Uganda corridor. This is because the Lamu Port is already partially functional and the road link to Isiolo under construction and some areas already motorable. Reviving the current metre gauge achieves that objective immediately.
Laikipia, Isiolo, Meru and Tharaka-Nithi have large amounts of iron ore and other industrial mineral deposits. This is the time to move to commercial exploitation these minerals as a basis of achieving the manufacturing pillar of the Big Four Agenda.
A revived Nanyuki line is crucial for the early development of that mining. This is so because key markets within the central region for the nascent iron ore mining are in Kiambu and Nakuru.
Vivo Energy recently invested in an 11.5 million-litre depot in Nanyuki. Why? Because the fast growing town is a perfect logistics hub for the Mt Kenya region and for northwards all the way to southern parts of Ethiopia.
The Nanyuki line is already functioning from Nairobi to Mitubiri in Murang’a County. Between Nairobi and Ruiru, the line is already part of the public transport system of the Nairobi metropolitan.
There is no reason why this should not extend to Sagana. In the modernisation of this segment, the Kenya Railway has provided modern stations, and get this, markets and parking lots alongside the stations. The effect is dramatic stimulation of commercial activity, with the stations becoming centres of such activity.
We expect to see the same in Sagana, Karatina, Chaka, Narumoru and Nanyuki. Take the cases of Chaka, as well as Karatina where commercial activities are evident all along, nay I should say on the railway line. This is what gave rise to the conversation about relocating traders in both towns. Obviously part of the rehabilitation of this line includes providing the necessary working spaces for traders. A new station is expected at Chaka.
So revival of the Nanyuki railway line makes perfect economic sense. The recent 11 DMU(Diesel multiple units) trains from Spain is another landmark project that aims to rid Nairobi its traumatising traffic jams. The last time such an idea was conceived, Kenya lost hundreds of millions under the watch of the former minister for finance Musalia Mudavadi.
The accomplished railway revamping goals achieved in only seven years by President Kenyatta, manifest what a focused and resilient force he is.