This week, the first passenger train on the Standard Gauge Railway took its inaugural journey from Mombasa to Nairobi. It may have taken Madaraka Express just eight hours to complete the 472km from the coastal city to the capital.
But the journey of the railway has been longer and beset with many barriers and bumps that threatened to derail it many times since the ground-breaking ceremony in November 2013.
It had to jump over numerous legal hurdles, negotiate high stakes political and business interests and endure the integrity questions that kept cropping up every step of the way.
Despite all that, SGR made it through the first phase unscathed. Even that vandalism on the eve of the launch could not stop it. It appears some politicians have been borrowing lessons on doggedness from SGR.
As the Madaraka Express was rolling into town, the politicians were proving that no matter how many barriers were placed on their path, they would be on the ballot on August 8.
Besides the 4,000-plus who circumvented the party nominations obstacle and went independent, there are many more who are proof that the SGR spirit is alive and well in the political arena.
They include Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, Nairobi’s Evans Kidero and his challenger Mike Sonko, former registrar of the Judiciary Gladys Shollei, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria and many others who are determined to run despite being blacklisted by a lobby group.
Just yesterday, former Devolution CS Anne Waiguru, who was also on the NGO’s list, was cleared by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission to run for Kirinyaga governor.
The only barrier standing between Waiguru and the governor’s mansion now is Martha Karua. Also never saying die is the inimitable Miguna Miguna who refused to be denied the chance by the small matter of signatures from becoming the city governor. Despite the setback, Miguna managed to keep his cool (something he is not famous for) for long enough to rectify the error.
Not so independent presidential candidate Peter Gichira. The man who wants to be the next commander-in-chief was allegedly so disgusted by IEBC’s refusal to clear him he attempted to take his own life. Still looking for proof that these positions are a matter of life and death?