RVR Adds 120 Wagons to its Rolling Stock

Rift Valley railways Concession & External Communication manager, Sammy Gachuhi (right) reviews a document with London based director Edward Yescombe of YCL Consulting Limited (left) during the 6th East & Central Africa Road & Rail Infrastructure Summit.

Officials from the opposition collation The Democratic Alliance have said they are considering taking  legal action against the  Electoral Commission for what they termed as  interfering with the electoral process.

The Electoral Commission chairman Eng. Badru Kiggundu on Friday morning announced that the dates for nomination of presidential candidates had been changed from October 5 -6  to    November 3 – 4, try giving candidates only 3 months to traverse  all the 112 districts in Uganda for campaigns.

“The decision to extend presidential nomination dates is our (EC) decision. No one dictates to us. Nomination fees of presidential candidates have also been revised from shs 8million to shs 20million. Candidates are therefore advised to pay the balance before nomination day, ” Kiggundu told journalists.

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TDA spokesperson Wafula Oguttu says however, that it was wrong for the election body to adjust the nomination dates on top of increasing the nomination fees for presidential candidates which he insisted is against the law.

There is also a feeling that the ruling NRM party’s unpreparedness  for the 2016 elections was the reason for the EC’s adjustments to the program.

The party is yet to hold its Delegates conference to pick its flag bear.

“The incompetence and disorganization of the NRM is influencing the whole electoral process in the country which is wrong. The process had been discussed and later gazetted. Why change it now without consulting anyone,” Oguttu wondered at the TDA headquarters in Naguru on Friday afternoon.

“This action by the Electoral Commission has to be challenged legally and other possible ways.”

The officials from the opposition coalition also condemned the increase of the nomination fees from Shs8 Million to Shs 20 Million which they say is intended to kick some people out of the race.

They further castigated the decision by the election body and the Uganda Communication Commission to suspend SMS and social media as platforms for campaigns saying it was uncalled for.

“It is a sign of fear by the ruling NRM party as it is interrupting the gazetted electoral process. We are soon sitting to litigate this,” said FDC chairperson Wasswa Birigwa.
By Farouk Twesigye and Dickens Okello

Police in Lyantonde along the Kampala-Mbarara road have arrested a number of opposition FDC leaders who were driving to Rukungiri in western Uganda.

The FDC leaders including the party National Chairman Wasswa Biriggwa and Leader of Opposition in Parliament, order Wafula Oguttu were rounded up in a confrontation that lasted a couple of hours.

Others in police cells include the party spokesperson Hon Semujju Nganda, Deputy Secretary General Harold Kaija, Chief Mobilizer Ingrid Turinawe, and legislators Patrick Amuriat, Paul Mwiru and Geoffrey Ekanya

The group was heading to the western district of Rukungiri for a public meeting they had planned. Police boss Gen Kale Kayihura stopped them yesterday from proceeding with the rally saying that it was in contravention of the public order management law.

Minutes after passing Masaka town, the FDC convoy was involved in an accident that damaged many cars when a police officer allegedly threw a metallic thorn barricade on the way that subsequently punctured the third car, and the rest which were trailing crushed on it.

The group nonetheless continued with the journey towards Mbarara but at Lyantonde, they meet heavy police deployment which ordered them to return to Kampala.

The operation we understand was commanded by the Regional Police Commander Maxwell Ogwang.

As crowds started swelling, police after hours decided to detain the opposition leaders. Our Reporter Farouk Twesigye at the scene says journalists were barred from taking photographs of the scuffle while others had their gadgets confiscated. Several locals who were starting to get rowdy at the scene were also arrested.

“They roughed up, manhandled, brutalized and inhumanly arrested our compatriots who had committed no crime but exercising their political rights,” FDC’s Doreen Nyanjura told us on the phone.

The police deputy spokesman, Polly Namaye however told Chimpreports that the FDC officials were not arrested but picked to make statements concerning the earlier accident since they were occupants of the car.

“They are only taking their statements following the accidents they were involved in early in the morning today. They are cooperating and we see no difficulty.” Ms. Namaye said.

Meanwhile on hearing hearing that the party officials were arrested, hundreds of locals who were awaiting them in Rukungiri erupted into mass street demonstrations.
Regional rail operator, this site Rift Valley Railways (RVR) has announced that it will add 480 new wagons to its fleet in an effort to augment its haulage capacity.

According to RVR, pills 120 of the additional 480 wagons will arrive in November, 2015.

Speaking during the 6th East and Central Africa Rail and Road Infrastructure Summit that was held at Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel in Nairobi on Thursday, RVR’s General Manager, Concession & External Communications, Mr. Sammy Gachuhi confirmed that they had already procured 120 wagons which they expect to arrive in the country in November.

“The 120 wagons purchased from China CNR Corporation at USD53, 000 per unit will increase fleet size and enable RVR to move up to 60 tonnes on each wagon compared to 40 tons allowed in the current wagon fleet,” he said.

He pointed out that RVR is currently at the midpoint of a sh25 billion (US$ 287 million) capital expenditure program that began in January 2012 to revitalize the railway.

The Uganda- Kenya rail operator has disclosed that since the start of the renewal program, RVR has invested sh11 billion (US$ 126 million) in modern rail operating technology, rebuilding infrastructure, expanding haulage capacity and developing modern rail operating skills in its 2,400 strong workforce.

RVR is Qalaa Holdings’ primary investment in the African transportation sector, with a 25-year concession to operate 2,352 km of track linking the Indian Ocean Port of Mombasa to the interiors of Kenya and Uganda.

The purchase of 20 new locomotives and the rehabilitation of existing wagons in 2014 have significantly expanded RVR’s mainline fleet of operating locomotives.

The railway has surpassed its set freight volume targets (FVT), moving 1,883 mn NTK of freight as at January 31, 2015 against a target of 1,737 mn NTK by March 31, 2015 in Kenya.

In Uganda, the operator had moved 250 mn NTK of freight as at February 25, 2015 against a target of 250 mn NTK by March 31, 2015.

“Rising freight volumes, declining incidents and less blockage time are a testament to the success of the range of measures so-far implemented under the turnaround program — from GPS-based navigation and scheduling to the reconditioning of track and rolling stock — is attracting new customers, including Vivo (formerly Shell Kenya), Lafarge Cement and others looking for safe, efficient, reliable alternatives to road transport,” added Mr. Gachuhi.

The new wagons have been acquired just as a management contract was finalized in August of this year in Uganda which will allow RVR to operate and manage the Inland Container Depot in Mukono,  and will help to further facilitate freight transport particularly for clients moving cargo from the port city of Mombasa to regions beyond Kampala.


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