Mombasa High Court has ordered the Kenya government to release documents related to the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR)—including contracts, agreements, and studies.
Kenya built SGR at Sh450 billion, a commercial loan from the Chinese’s Exim Bank.
Okoa Mombasa, without success, has been trying to get these documents since December 16, 2019—about five years after first being signed and two years following SGR’s inaugural ride.
In one of Okoa Mombasa’s Access to Information Act request responses, Kenya Railways said the contracts have “non-disclosure clauses”.
In June 2021, Okoa Mombasa, through MUHURI’s Khelef Khalifa and The Institute for Social Accountability’s (Tisa’s) Wanjiru Gikonyo, sued to get the documents.
And on May 13, 2022, High Court Judge John Mativo ordered a disclosure.
“Public bodies have a constitutional duty to give people access to information so that they can exercise their rights,” the Judge said.
“When they try to subvert a person’s constitutional right by being unresponsive and playing possum, their conduct should be deprecated.”
Okoa Mombasa argues that taxpayers are re paying the SGR loan and need to know the contents of the documents.
The Judge said the failure by the government to disclose SGR documents violated the right to access information.
There are fears SGR pact with China risks Kenyan sovereignty. Kenyans can only know the truth if the government makes public the documents.
SGR struggles to break even. The cost of running the train far outweighs the revenues generated. The taxpayers have paid for the deficits through their noses—and Mombasa has suffered immensely.
Mombasa’s economy is dead because SGR has moved port services upcountry through illegal government policies.
MUHURI and Okoa Mombasa published a long-hidden study, which revealed how SGR operations ravaged Mombasa’s economy.
Mombasa county government commissioned the study but deemed it “classified”, hiding it from public view. The devolved unit is yet to officially release it.