While the phrase “fake news” may have been coined by President Donald Trump, it’s certainly not a new concept in Uganda and regionally.
This week, Standard Gauge Railway Project officials say a big story published in the regional The East African newspaper is all wrong, the news stories were flat out lies.
In a tweet sent out by SGR, the implementing unit for the Project, they say that the story under the headline ‘Uganda rethinks Kenya SGR over funding gaps’ is misleading and full of inaccuracies
The story deals with Uganda scaling back its ambitions to the metre gauge rail after Kenya’s delay in raising financing for the Kisumu-Malaba leg of its standard gauge railway will cause Uganda to defer its $2.3 billion standard gauge railway from Malaba to Kampala plans at least three years.
This has caused a twitter storm with social media users attacking the regional paper.
Sembatya Nicholas in a tweet said ‘@The_EastAfrican r clueless! Only recycling! If their HQ was in Kla! W’d have been closed for sometime’
Another user by the names Terry Brenda, a Kenyan, said ‘Here is another fake story by Nation Media. @LinusKaikai, you guys are losing credibility by the day’
Arthur Musinguzi in a tweet says; ‘I’m still yet to find out why the media house finds it cool to lie to the public. Or may be it’s to sell their copies off the streets’
Suleiman Mwangi questions the level of research from the regional paper
“@dailynation @The_EastAfrican These days are you really researching on your stories or it is just propaganda?
@The_EastAfrican story ‘Uganda rethinks Kenya SGR over funding gaps’ is misleading & has many inaccuracies. It’s a total misrepresentation of the outcomes of the meeting of HEs @KagutaMuseveni @UKenyatta on 19th Dec ‘17 which directed faster implementation of SGR! We’re on course pic.twitter.com/8ZSmoaqFeA
— SG Railway Uganda (@SGR_Uganda) January 8, 2018
The weekly newspaper published in Kenya by the Nation Media Group, claimed Uganda plans to refocus its efforts on revamping its metre gauge railway currently operating by Rift Valley Railways in the medium term with Keith Muhakanizi, the Secretary to the Treasury and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance quoted saying: “ ..insisted that the 2018/19 budget will provide funds for this purpose.”
A source in the SGR implementing agency told this website that the story misrepresents the outcomes of the December 17 meeting between HE Museveni and his counter part Uhuru Kenyatta in which the presidents directed for faster tracking of SGR.
With barely 3 weeks after the meeting between the presidents, the regional paper’s claims and a joint communique emphasizing renewed commitment to SGR, we await to see where it leaves the reputation of the once revered paper.
Kisumu-Malaba is at the tail end of Kenya’s SGR project, whose first phase from Mombasa to Nairobi was completed last year. The second phase stretches from Nairobi to Malaba, with three sub phases — Nairobi-Naivasha, Naivasha-Kisumu and Kisumu-Malaba.