MOMBASA, Kenya — Fireworks popped and confetti rained down within the seaside metropolis of Mombasa when Kenya’s president inaugurated the nation’s new railway — designed, funded and constructed by China.
President Uhuru Kenyatta proclaimed that the brand new prepare would join the port in Mombasa to the neighboring nation of Uganda, create jobs and assist rework Kenya into an industrialized, middle-income nation.
“This can be a very historic second,” President Kenyatta, waving a large Kenyan flag, informed the gathering of Kenyan and Chinese language officers. “We ought to be proud.”
That was 5 years in the past. The railway has since became a fiasco, the goal of lawsuits, felony investigations over corruption and resentment by environmentalists and displaced employees within the trucking business.
Now, it’s a hot-button concern within the intently contested election on Tuesday and a part of a broader debate about China’s increasing function in Kenya. China initially financed the railway as a part of its trillion-dollar Belt and Street Initiative, which aimed to develop China’s financial and political clout by funding new ports, roads and railways globally. However China balked at financing the final part of the Kenyan railway — the connection to Uganda — as some African international locations struggled to repay their money owed.
Each main candidates within the marketing campaign to choose Mr. Kenyatta’s successor — William Ruto and Raila Odinga — have seized on the railway’s troubles, promising to reassess its operations, whereas additionally attempting to distance themselves from the challenge.