SGR Scandal: There are more Chinese nationals living and working in Kenya today than in past years. Over the recent few years, a number of these Chinese nationals have been caught up in scandals involving blatant racism. Some have been caught on tape racially abusing Kenyans while others have been reported over their racial abuses.
In 2018, the Daily Nation reported that one of the most common abuses by the Chinese happens at the SGR, an overly expensive railway line that China has been funding, constructing and running.
In a shocking response to the SGR scandal on racism and discrimination that was revealed in 2018, the government asked Kenyans to bear with the Chinese! This not only appeared to be a mockery but also a sign of helpless as Kenya chokes with Chinese debt.
The then government spokesperson Eric Kiraithe said that Kenyans, including those facing maltreatment, should appreciate the work the Chinese are doing instead of concentrating on the racial insults they are receiving from the Chinese.
The China Road and Bridge Corporation, the builder and operator of the line, stands accused of discriminating Kenyan workers— who are expected to take over the running of the rail service in 10 years— in unemployment, assignments, salary, sitting arrangement, catering and personal hygiene services among others.
The government also claimed that it had put in place “systems” to resolve issues surrounding the operations of Madaraka Express passenger service and the cargo train.
Mr. Kiraithe has since been replaced by Colonel Cyrus Oguna at the office of government spokesman.
Instead of addressing the concerns, the government appeared to blame Kenyans who made complaints of painting the SGR project in bad light.
The SGR has often proven to be the bane of bad blood between the Uhuru government and its critics who argue that the project is too costly and currently irrelevant.