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Forget it: State House makes U-turn on releasing SGR contract

State House has told NTV journalist Mark Masai to forget about getting a copy of the Standard Gauge Railway contract between the governments of Kenya and China.

This in spite of a promise last year by President Uhuru Kenyatta to make the contract public.

President Kenyatta made the promise on live television during an interview on the lawns of State House, Mombasa, in December 2018.

The President, it seems, has now been overruled by his Chief of Staff Nzoika Waita.

“To the fact of the matter is that the contract will not be released to Mark Maasai. So he shouldn’t be expecting it. The President did not lie (when asked about releasing the contract). He was counseled by the Attorney General who has guided that only the organization with locus should request for an agreement that is signed by two institutions which are bound by confidentiality clauses and must go through the public audit process,” Mr Waita said on Sunday during an interview on KTN.

HANDS ARE TIED

He added that the ‘world should not cry’ over State House’s about turn and that President’s Kenyatta’s hands are tied on the matter.

“The President is a human being and if he gave a commitment that cannot be followed through, it is not for the world to cry. His hands are tired by the law. Even if he wanted to give the contract to Mark, he can’t.”

Not done, Waita also took a dig at Masai, claiming he interviewed the President with ‘unnecessary aggression’ .

“I still have reservations as to how Mark conducted himself and how he engaged the President. I think he engaged the President at the time the President had to give him a response. It was a question based on an unnecessary level of aggression. That was uncalled for.”

In prompting the President to share the contract with him, Masai had sought clarity amid suggestions the Government of Kenya had put up several public assets as a guarantee, including the port of Mombasa.