I am in what you refer to as the SGR, though the correct term is Train. SGR is the rail on which this train is running. I hope this has helped but allow me to use the common term understood by all – niko kwa sgr.
A young guy and another older man who I think is in his hundreds are conversing behind my seat. I can tell their ages by the language they are using…the young man, oblivious of his audience uses words like “hizi mashake za sgr zilibaiwa doh poa” and the old man responds “the fire is political”. Whatever the case, they understand each other. So they go on and on about how the old Kenya railways was glamorous and how those who worked at KR were admired and how the men would have women drooling over them just by the introduction “Nafanya Kenya Railways”. The young man not knowing what this old man is talking about interjects severally comparing this sgr to what he sees on YouTube and TV.
The general consensus from both of these two generations-apart guys is that without the Chinese, the sgr is dead! They say what I have heard many times; Africans cannot manage sh*t. Every time I hear such conversation I cringe. Well, many justifiable examples are given to this effect from the management of Starehe to the recent resuscitation of KQ. I beg to differ. The fact that many examples real or perceived can be drawn to justify this ‘norm’ but still, I am not boarding!
Kenya, let alone Africa has highly educated professionals with reputable credentials. The tragedy is that not most of these people are given such opportunities and those that get a chance are not given an adequate environment in which to operate freely. Politics has made Africans look stupid. Good leaders with good intentions have been marred due to political interference. Yes, I agree that there are those among us that are greedy, tribalistic among other shenzytypes though highly learned. This is why looking at academics solely as a prerequisite for leadership position is narrow minded. And yes, there are those among us that would manage the sgr better than the Chinese. So, can we, Kenyans run the sgr without the ching’chongs? Absolutely!
As the millennial and the dinosaur were making their arguments behind me I felt like interrupting and screaming at them but what do I know?
The other argument I heard is the usual good people turning bad when they ascend to leadership. Good example is with the parliamentarians. Some believe that there is a devil in that parliament that converts good to bad. Again I beg to differ. There are two schools of thought when it comes to morality. One believes that a person becomes a thief when s/he steals while the other believes that one steals because s/he is a thief. Well, I believe in the latter. We can talk about these theories in another forum.
The bottom line is that among the 45million Kenyans, we have men and women with both intelligence and integrity that can run sh*it! They may not be as loud or as popular but they are here in Kenya, in Africa. Let’s believe in our own and allow them to run the sgr among other projects. The ching’chongs have built, now let’s run it.
Disclaimer – while I was busy trying to write this article, a lady seated in front of me got the impression that I was board and started making conversations. I almost said to her “get thee behind me satan”. There are times when one needs to shut up and write. Blame her on any mistakes in this article.
[Photo credit – Mzilikazi wa Afrika]