Police have blocked Mombasa Governor Hassan Ali Joho from attending the launch of the standard gauge railway at Miritini.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is presiding over the launch of the Sh327 billion project and in attendance are top Chinese officials and Kenya government officials.
China provided loans that were used to build the railway, a Vision 2030 flagship project, and its companies build the line and supplied locomotives.
Mr Joho’s spokesman, Richard Chacha, said security personnel prevented Mr Joho from entering the station.
The county boss was forced to turn back by the officers led by County Director of Criminal Investigations Washington Muthee.
The governor left his office in Mombasa town and headed to the venue minutes after President Kenyatta arrived.
“He arrived in a blue vehicle accompanied by his official car but when he was blocked, he decided to turn his vehicles around and went back without any protests,” said an officer at the entrance.
This comes a day after government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe slammed the governor over his intentions to attend the launch without following the proper protocol.
“He has come back to the office but he is going to issue a statement,” Mr Chacha said.
Mr Chacha said the governor wanted to attend the launch of the passenger train so that he could question why its cost was inflated by more than Sh100 billion.
Mr Joho had on Monday threatened to stop the launch of the train service for what he called an “exaggeration of the project’s budget”.
“The project was to cost not more than Sh200 billion but the Jubilee government is telling us it has cost more than Sh300 billion. We deserve answers before the launch,” he said in Siaya town when Senator James Orengo presented his nomination papers.
The Orange Democratic Movement deputy party leader accused the Jubilee administration of “oiling the wheels of corruption at the expense of service delivery”.
“If they think they are going to get away with the SGR, the same way they got away with NYS after swindling our money, they are daydreaming,” he said
He claimed Jubilee was taking credit for the mega project that was initiated during the Grand Coalition Government under then President Mwai Kibaki and then Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
©Alleastafrica and Daily Nation