The construction of SGR Phase Two took a new twist after Nakuru leaders petitioned the president to sanction the proposed dry port to be constructed between Nakuru town and Naivasha.
The issue cropped up during the inaugural Nakuru County gubernatorial debate at Kings Cathedral College organized by Nakuru Business Association (NBA).
Former NTSA chairman Lee Kinyanjui and former NACADA boss John Mututho both eyeing to dethrone attended while the incumbent Kinuthia Mbugua was conspicuously absent.
The two insisted the need to extend SGR Phase 2 from Naivasha to Nakuru Town and the construction of the dry port in between the two towns and not in Suswa or periphery of Naivasha.
The dry port debate has been used by the opposition leaders especially Mombasa governor Hassan Joho who accused the government of crippling the economy of Mombasa.
The construction works for the second phase of the Standard Gauge Railway project were officially launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta with a ceremony at the Embulbul work site in Ngong Town on October 19.
Phase 2A covers the 120 km Nairobi – Naivasha section of the 2 937 km MoKaKi corridor.
Construction is to be undertaken by China Road & Bridge Corp, which is currently building the 473 km Phase 1 line between Mombasa and a new terminus at Embakasi on the outskirts of the capital.
During the debate, business community expressed their fear that Nakuru Town would become a ghost city if it will be bypassed by the multibillion projects.
Governor Mbugua together with local members of parliament were on receiving end after being accused of remaining silent when Nakuru was getting a raw deal on SGR.
“Our county leadership has failed us for not lobbying for the extension of the SGR route from Naivasha to Nakuru town.” Kinyanjui said.
He pointed that, Nakuru town is strategically placed and if bypassed by the SGR, its status as an economic hub for Rift Valley and the country will decline drastically.
“The leaders are committing a historical mistake and would be judged harshly in future if the SGR phase 2 will not pass Nakuru town en-route to Kisumu and Uganda.” He added.
On his part, Mututho petitioned President Uhuru Kenyatta to direct the construction of the dry port in between Naivasha and Nakuru town.