standardmedia.co.ke 15 May 2017
As elections draw near politicians are outdoing one another bombarding us with propaganda and all manner of imaginary ‘goodies’ they have delivered to the electorate.
One of the most pathetic claims is about who initiated the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). Each side of the political divide is doing its utmost to take the accolades.
So whose vision is the SGR? Every high school student who is familiar with the print, radio, and TV media or the Internet will tell you it is China.
China has crafted the One-Belt-One-Road (OBOR) initiative which is a strategy to go out to other countries and leverage on their resources and local opportunities for the benefit of China and its citizens.
It can be compared to the infamous ‘Scramble for Africa’ of two centuries ago except that this time round China aims to conquer the whole world.
The OBOR initiative is carried out on land in the form of the Silk Road Economic Belt (SREB) which initially roped in countries in Europe and Asia that are in the old Silk Trade Route along which merchants like Marco Polo (who brought ‘spaghetti’ or noodles to Italy from China) once travelled so many centuries ago.
The sea based initiative is called the Maritime Silk Road (MSR) and its presence on the African continent is evident in the increasing number of Chinese merchant ships berthing at Mombasa, Dar, Maputo, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Windhoek, Luanda, Port Harcourt, Lagos and so forth all the way to far off Equatorial Guinea and up north to Casa Blanca.
In fact China’s shipping impact is felt on all sea ports right around Africa.
So the political class ought to stop lecturing us about the SGR. It was conceived back in Beijing long before any of Kenya’s politicians even knew that Peking is synonymous with Beijing. Or that most of South East Asians are actually of Chinese descent!
And Kenya’s SGR is just the ocean-ward end of a ‘Great Silk Road’ heading into Kampala, Kigali, Goma, Kisangani, Kinshasa-Brazzaville, Pointe Noire, and onto the Atlantic Ocean.