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‘Collapsed railway’ photo shows old damage during construction, not Kenya’s new SGR line

Bonyeza hapa ili kusoma ripoti hii kwa Kiswahili.

Kenya’s president Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga went to China in late April 2019 to seek another loan for the standard gauge railway (SGR) project.

But Kenyans are divided on the wisdom of borrowing more money from China. One Facebook user who’s against it shared a photo on a group page with close to 2 million members, and on his timeline.

It shows a collapsed section of what appears to be the new railway, with a “breaking news” claim the collapse had just happened near Kibwezi, a town in Kenya’s southeastern Makueni county.

“SGR collapses near Kibwezi,” he captioned the photo. “Hatulipi deni [Kiswahili for “we won’t pay the debt”] until it is fixed.”

Rain damage to line under construction in 2016

But the photo is from 2016 and shows rain damage to construction work on the Mombasa-Nairobi SGR line near Kambu in Makueni county – not a recent “collapse” of the completed line, near Kibwezi.

A reverse image search shows the photo was first used online on 20 November 2016, before the Mombasa-Nairobi line – the first phase of the SGR – was finished in early 2017.

In late 2016 heavy rains pounded parts of Kenya, including Makueni county. It damaged a section of the railway near Kambu.

At the time, Kenya Railways explained on Twitter that the damage wasn’t due to poor workmanship. The rain had simply caused protection slopes to collapse, on a section where construction work was still ongoing.

“The rains came before everything was tied up and hence this is normal in any ongoing construction site,” it said. The authority added that the contractor was fixing the problem.

Confirmation from Kenya Railways

Africa Check asked Margaret Kawira from Kenya Railways’ corporate affairs department about the photo. She confirmed it was taken in 2016, during the first phase of SGR construction.

“This happened during the construction of phase one following heavy rains while the slope protection works were still ongoing,” she said. – Dancan Bwire

Picha inayoonyesha reli iliyoporomoka ni ya zamani wakati wa ujenzi wa reli ya SGR nchini Kenya, sio ya sasa

Rais wa Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta na kiongozi wa upinzani Raila Odinga walizuru China mwishoni mwa Aprili 2019 kutafuta mkopo mwingine wa mradi wa reli maarufu kama Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

Lakini Wakenya wana maoni tofauti kuhusu mkopo huo: Je, ulifikiriwa vizuri au la?

Mtumizi mmoja wa mtandao wa Facebook ambaye anapinga mkopo zaidi aliweka picha kwenye ukurasa wa kikundi cha Facebook chenye wanachama karibu milioni mbili, na kwenye ukurasa wake binafsi pia.

Inaonyesha sehemu iliyoporomoka ya reli hiyo mpya ya SGR, na akadai  kuwa kisa hicho kilitokea karibu na mji wa Kibwezi uilio katika kaunti ya Makueni.

“SGR imeporomoka karibu na Kibwezi,” aliandika kwenye picha hiyo. “Hatulipi deni until it is fixed [hadi litengenezwe].”

Uharibifu wa mvua kwa reli hiyo wakati wa ujenzi mnamo 2016

Lakini picha hiyo ni ya mwaka wa 2016 na inaonyesha uharibifu uliosababishwa na mvua kubwa iliyonyesha wakati wa ujenzi wa reli katika sehemu ya Mombasa-Nairobi karibu na Kambu katika kaunti ya Makueni - wala sio “maporomoko” ya hivi karibuni ya sehemu hio ya reli iliyokamilishwa.

Utafiti kwenye mtandao unaonyesha kuwa picha hii ilitumiwa kwa mara ya kwanza mtandaoni mnamo Novemba 20, 2016, kabla ya sehemu hio ya reli ya Mombasa-Nairobi, iliyokuwa awamu ya kwanza kabisa ya mradi huo iliyomalizika mapema mwaka wa 2017.

Mwishoni mwa mwaka 2016 mvua kubwa ilinyesha sehemu nyingi za Kenya, ikiwemo kaunti ya Makueni. Iliharibu sehemu ya reli karibu na Kambu.

Wakati huo,shirika la Kenya Railways  lilieleza kwenye mtandao wake wa Twitter kwamba uharibifu huo kamwe haukutokana na kazi duni.

Mvua ilikuwa imesababisha nguzo zake maalum kuporomoka, kwenye sehemu ambayo kazi ya ujenzi ilikuwa bado inaendelea.

“Mvua ilikuja kabla ya kila kitu kufungwa na kwa hivyo hii ni kawaida katika kazi yoyote ya ujenzi,” shirika hilo lilisema. Shirika hilo liliongeza kuwa mwanakandarasi huyo alikuwa akirekebisha shida hiyo.

Uthibitisho kutoka Kenya Railways

Africa Check ilimuuliza Margaret Kawira kutoka idara ya mawasiliano ya shirika la Kenya Railways kuhusu picha hiyo. Alithibitisha kuwa ilichukuliwa mnamo 2016, wakati wa awamu ya kwanza ya ujenzi wa SGR.

“Hii ilitokea wakati wa ujenzi wa awamu ya kwanza kufuatia mvua kubwa wakati kazi za kuweka nguzo maalum za reli hio  zilikuwa zinaendelea,” alisema. – Dancan Bwire


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