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Uhuru didn't ask for SGR loan in China trip - State House

In Summary

• Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita said the question of funding for the extension of the SGR from Naivasha to Kisumu was not on the agenda.

• The Nation and the Standard's front page Saturday headlines reported on the 'unsuccessful trip' by Uhuru and AU special envoy Raila Odinga.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta talks with with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the meeting at the Great Hall of People in Beijing, China on April 25, 2019.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta talks with with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the meeting at the Great Hall of People in Beijing, China on April 25, 2019.
Image: Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Pool via REUTERS

State House has denied the SGR loan was part of the agenda during the recent visit by President Uhuru Kenyatta to China.

In a strongly worded statement issued on Saturday, Chief of Staff Nzioka Waita said the question of funding for the extension of the SGR from Naivasha to Kisumu was not on the agenda of the meeting between the Uhuru and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Waita was reacting after the Nation and the Standard's front page Saturday headlines reported on the 'unsuccessful trip' by Uhuru and AU special envoy Raila Odinga where they failed to secure the over Sh300 billion loan deal.

The Standard Newspaper headline on Saturday, April 27, 2019.
The Standard Newspaper headline on Saturday, April 27, 2019.
Image: COURTESY
 

"It is very disappointing to read excerpts from the newspapers. The President cannot be said to be returning home empty-handed for something he did not request," he stated.

The Chief of Staff maintained the headlines were not only factually incorrect, but they were also 'misleading and extremely damaging to the reputation of the People and the Government of the Republic of Kenya'.

"The Government of Kenya did not discuss any funding proposals for the extension of the SGR at the meeting. The SGR project is a regional project and the complexities in negotiating its completion involve several countries and securing financing for its completion could take several years of intricate negotiations," he added.

Earlier on Saturday, Foreign Affairs CS Monica Juma lashed out at the media over their reporting on the SGR loan deal by China.

Juma made it clear that the relationship between Kenya and China is broader than the SGR.

"In fact, the SGR extension beyond Naivasha was never a priority agenda for the current mission to Beijing," she tweeted.

She added that the main focus was on growing market access, development of the country's industrial and special economic zones, and partnership with the private sectors for investment.


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