President Uhuru Kenyatta has launched the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), Cargo operations.
Speaking at Port Reitz in Mombasa county, Uhuru said Kenyans and the more than the 300 million residents of the region are set to reap the benefits of efficient transportation of cargo.
He waved a giant Kenyan flag to flag off the inaugural cargo train of the SGR shortly after 6.00 pm, at Port Reitz, marking a new era where cargo will be moved twice as fast and at a cheaper price.
The ceremony held, Tuesday, was witnessed by thousands of Kenyans together with delegations and representatives from across the world.
It took the Jubilee government two and half years – less than the originally given time and less than the original budget – to accomplish the task of constructing 472 kilometres of the SGR from the port city of Mombasa to the capital city of Nairobi in the country’s interior.
The government has already embarked on extending the SGR to Naivasha then to Kisumu and eventually plans to have the system extended to Kampala and Kigali in Uganda and Rwanda respectively.
Fanked by Deputy President William Ruto and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, Uhuru said every Kenyan should be proud of the Standard Gauge Railway.
“I call upon all Kenyans whatever their political beliefs to celebrate, today we should be together holding hands in celebrations,” said the president moments after the cargo train pulled alongside the Presidential Dias waiting for the flag off.
It was song and dance as choirs played patriotic songs apt for the moment.
“This is the Kenya we seek and this is the Kenya we want our children to inherit from us and their children to inherit from them,” said Uhuru, amid applause, cheers and ululation.
On his part, according to PSCU, Ruto said the launch of the services of the SGR was a proud moment for all Kenyans.
The ceremony was also addressed by Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Liu Xianfa, President of the China Communications Construction Company, Chen Fen Jian and the Chairman of the Kenya Railways Gen (Rtd) Jeremiah Kianga.
Below are some o the photos from the event, courtesy of PSCU.