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House to investigate SGR transport order

By Wilfred Ayaga | September 26th 2019

A day after protests rocked Mombasa over an order compelling importers to only use the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to transport goods to Nairobi, Parliament has opened an inquiry into the status of a directive suspending the policy.

Deputy Speaker Moses Cheboi asked the Transport committee to report back to the House on the matter, amid confusion on whether the suspension order by Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia is being implemented.

“We want the committee to confirm that this is the position or not. We will ask the Transport committee to have a meeting on Thursday (today) to deliberate on this and give us the actual position,” said Mr Cheboi.

The House directive follows months of friction between the Government and business people at the Coast, who claim they have incurred huge losses following the implementation of the policy.

Address House

Mr Macharia appeared before the Transport committee on August 8 and said the order had been lifted. Committee chairman David Pkosing also addressed the House on the matter.

“The CS came in person ... and informed the meeting that the directive, which had been signed by the Commissioner-General of Kenya Revenue Authority and the Director-General of Kenya Ports Authority, has been withdrawn and made public through the media... as a committee, we confirmed the order had been withdrawn,” Mr Pkosing said.

Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir had demanded evidence that the order had been withdrawn as claimed by Macharia and Pkosing. The lawmaker told the House he had evidence that the order was still in force.

“The information we have accessed since then is contrary to what the chairperson reported. And it is thereof clear that the chair either misled this House or was caused to mislead this House. I seek the indulgence of the House in directing the chairman of the Transport Committee to provide material facts and evidence of the said withdrawal or else be declared disorderly in line with House Standing Orders,” Mr Abdulswamad said.

Leader of Majority Aden Duale, however, insisted that the order had been lifted and wondered why there was confusion on the matter. “An advertisement was placed in the media that the order has been suspended,” said Mr Duale.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wa challenged Coast politicians to declare their interests in the matter. He said they were not genuine in their quest to have cargo ferried to Nairobi using trucks.

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