'It is my view that the information sought is information the state should have disclosed without any prompting based on positive and proactive disclosure obligations under Article 35 of the Constitution because it is information that is of importance to the public'
BY BRIAN OTIENO @Yobramos4
The Okoa Mombasa Coalition has asked the government to release all information on the agreements, contracts and documents relating to the SGR project for public scrutiny.
The group on Thursday said the standard gauge railway deal remains shrouded in a lot of secrecy that it raises questions.
Muslims for Human Rights, a member of the coalition, said the secrecy in which the SGR deal was done and the determination with which the government wants imported cargo to be transported to the hinterland via the railway raises integrity issues.
Muhuri chairman Khelef Khalifa on December 16 wrote to Transport PS Esther Koimet, Kenya Ports Authority managing director Daniel Manduku, Kenya Railways managing director, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics director-general and Attorney General to provide the information sought in 21 days.
“It is my view that the information sought is information the state should have disclosed without any prompting based on positive and proactive disclosure obligations under Article 35 of the Constitution because it is information that is of importance to the public,” Khalifa said.
He was speaking in Mombasa on behalf of the Okoa Mombasa coalition.
The coalition has been organising the Black Monday protests that sought to force the government to revoke a directive requiring importers to transport their cargo via the SGR to the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi.
The protest was suspended two weeks ago to allow for the implementation of resolutions reached during a meeting of the Senate, Transport Ministry, the coalition and other stakeholders.
During meeting, Transport CS James Macharia, Manduku and the Kenya Railways boss promised to stop the implementation of the directive.
On Thursday, Roman Waema, a member of the coalition representing the long-distance drivers, said the Senate has been too lenient on the ministry and its top officials.
“We have been waiting to see whether the senior government officers will make good their pledge. We are seeing there is sluggishness in the implementation,” Waema said.
Khalifa is also seeking information regarding the Building Bridges Initiative, saying the BBI has gobbled up about Sh10 billion of taxpayers’ money.
He said the BBI is unconstitutional and could have resulted from an illegal process.
“We want to know who authorised the formation of the task force, how much was used to produce the report and why Parliament was not involved,” Khalifa said.
edited by p.o