Africa-Press – Kenya. Fresh details have now emerged why President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration has never disclosed details of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) that was funded by the Chinese government.
Through a legal battle pitting activists and the national government over the details of the contract, it emerged that the deal sealed is a matter of national security between the two nations and the implications behind it.
In response to two activists who had moved to court pushing to be supplied with the contract details, Transport Principal Secretary Joseph Njoroge stated that the deal is non-disclosure.
He made it clear that revealing the details of the deal will breach the contract which in turn will have massive repercussions to the country and its national security.
PS Njoroge explained that granting the orders would endanger national security and even injure the foreign relations between Kenya and China.
The PS further detailed that terms in the contract touch on foreign government information with implications on national security and foreign relations.
Justifying the move, he also noted that breaching the contract would stifle the successful implementation of the National Transport Policy with China funding several projects in the country including the Nairobi Expressway Project among others.
“Upon receipt of the request for information from the petitioners ( Wanjiru Gikonyo and Khelef Khalifa) Kenya Railways Corporation responded and explained that the contracts of the projects to which information is being requested are between the governments of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of Kenya,” Njoroge stated.
Rejecting the petitioners’ request, the government official also stated they failed to articulate the necessity of the documents and beneficial actions in the interest of the public they are to undertake upon receiving the documents.
Other than the security implications tied to the deal, the government also reiterated that revealing the contract details would cause substantial harm to the ability of the government to manage the economy of the country.
The activists wanted all the contracts, agreements, and studies related to the construction and operations of the SGR made public. They argued that the government’s decision to keep the documents secret violates the law on transparent governance.
“SGR is the largest capital-intensive infrastructure project ever constructed in the country, but despite this extraordinary expenditure of public funds, the project has been undertaken with controversy and secrecy from its inception,” argued the petitioners.
With the government submission and fresh revelation regarding the SGR deal, the case has been moved on March 31 for further hearing and determination.
In December 2018, President Uhuru Kenyatta promised to reveal details of the SGR deal and give it to one of the journalists, who were interviewing him at State House.
But the government has never released the details to date despite numerous court petitions.