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House team summons CS over racism at SGR

By Moses Njagih and Josphat Thiong’o | Published Thu, July 12th 2018 at 00:00, Updated July 11th 2018 at 21:56 GMT +3
Transport CS James Macharia at a past committee probe. [File, Standard]

A parliamentary committee has now summoned Transport Cabinet Secretary and Kenya Railways boss to shed light on claims of discrimination against Kenyans working at the Standard Gauge Railways (SGR).

The National Assembly Committee on National Cohesion and Equal Opportunities has asked CS James Macharia and Managing Director of Kenya Railways Athanus Maina to appear before it next Thursday following adverse and “worrying” reports of mistreatment and racial discrimination of locals by the China Roads and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) management, which is running the railway line.

The committee’s chairman Maina Kamanda (right) yesterday said they had been compelled to intervene following the exposé by The Standard and its sister publication The Sunday Standard, where Kenyans were said to be undergoing racial discrimination and humiliation in the hands of the Chinese managers.

The nominated MP said after the appearance of Macharia and Maina, they will consider summoning the management of CRBC.

“We are keen to dig deep into this matter. It would be very sad if indeed these claims are true,” said Mr Kamanda.

Kamanda said the committee would also seek to establish if indeed the Chinese firm had sought to gag workers by binding them to a code of secrecy, which he said in itself amounted to denying them the constitutional freedom of expression.

The Standard established that CRBC had asked its employees to sign a secrecy agreement that prevents them from taking pictures and posting them on social media or sharing with other outlets.

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And the Government has launched separate investigations.

Government spokesman Eric Kiraithe yesterday confirmed that the Government had tasked the relevant agencies, including the Kenya Railways, to look into the issue and ensure justice is done.

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