There has been a lot of buzz around the just launched Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) with tongues, both from the Kenyans and their leaders have been wagging.
Many people have been made to believe that SGR is for the common man but the simple question is, is it? Is SGR meant for the common man in the streets?
The coming of SGR is going to face out thousands of jobs from the transport sector especially the matatu sector. Fare from Nairobi to Mombasa is cheaper via train than the normal means of using buses. Chances are that buses are going to be without customers and many will have no other way but to fold up their businesses.
To transport one container from Mombasa to Nairobi via a trailer is usually between 80,000 and 90,000. The cargo train is charging 50,000 per container. Who will use the trailers then? Where will the thousands of drivers and their assistants go?
People are saying that the time to travel from Nairobi to Mombasa or vice versa will be reduced by half. So, what? What is in travelling from Mombasa to Nairobi or vice versa on time has to do with the economy? How is a farmer from the Kenyan interior, from Murang’a for instance benefit from the faster travelling from Mombasa to Nairobi and vice versa?
As we sing and praise the landing of the SGR, let us put in consideration the immediate impact of the same of the economy. In this case, the negatives are more than the positives.