The standard gauge railway has been touted as the biggest infrastructure development project that is bound to have a huge impact on the country’s development.
Already, thanks to the completion of the Mombasa-Nairobi section over a year ago, the praise has exceeded misgivings.
A real feat is the ability by the majority who cannot afford to fly, to cover the nearly 500-kilometre in just under five hours. Before the SGR came, one had brace oneself for a 12-hour bus journey.
Businesses are also happy about the faster movement of imports from Mombasa Port on the SGR. But this game changer has not come without its own hitches.
Not long ago, there was a public outcry about the humiliation of Kenyan staff by their Chinese managers. The dust has settled and we hope their relations have improved. Both have a role to play in the success of the train services.
However, it would appear that other SGR shenanigans could just be unravelling. The Nation expose on a passenger ticketing fraud running into millions of shillings is the latest blemish on the SGR.
Kenya Railways Corporation deserves kudos for quickly taking the operator of the Madaraka Express service to task and pushing for an investigation.
It has done been pretty fast, with some Chinese staff appearing in court on Monday. They are, of course, innocent until proven guilty by a competent court.
However, the readiness to get to the bottom of the scam is commendable. The investigators should now widen the dragnet to identify and subject more suspects to due process. The SGR is a huge public investment that must generate revenue to ease the government’s huge debt burden.
It was never meant to line the pockets of a few greedy individuals.