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Stewards stand beside a train upon its arrival in Nairobi. | Coastweek

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Stewards stand beside a train upon its arrival in Nairobi.
Kenya’s railway police officers look forward to training stint in China

By Jin Zheng, Christine Lagat NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Purity Kawira grew up in the dotting hills of central Kenya where she learnt the art of fortitude and determination which later proved valuable when she contemplated joining the national police force after high school.

The 40-year-old female officer has a bubbling zeal to serve her country and outstanding performance recently secured her a promotion in the highly competitive and risk-laden career.

Kawira is currently an inspector at the elite police division in charge of protecting Kenya’s railway infrastructure whose modernization has gathered steam thanks to financial and technical contribution from China.

She will be among 30 police officers drawn from different specialized agencies who will be departing to China to participate in a four-week training seminar on enhancing railways security.

Speaking to Xinhua on Wednesday during a farewell reception for the officers destined for training in China, Kawira vowed to utilize the opportunity to build her skills in policing.

“My desire is to gain expertise that will boost my work of ensuring there is safety at the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR),” Kawira remarked.

“I look forward to a fulfilling experience in China and will share knowledge gained with colleagues,” she added.

The vivacious policewoman has been in charge of a platoon that has been providing security to the China funded Mombasa-Nairobi Railway project since its launch by President Uhuru Kenyatta in May last year.

Kawira hailed the launch of the SGR passenger and cargo trains that have been a game changer in transport, commerce and regional integration.

“We feel privileged to be on the frontline of protecting the SGR train and are witness to the many benefits it has brought to this country. By acquiring new skills, we will be able to protect passengers and cargo being ferried through this modern train service,” Kawira told Xinhua.

The Chinese government has sponsored the month-long training program for Kenyan police officers to boost their capacity to provide safety to passenger and cargo ferried through the SGR trains.

Guo Ce, the Economic and Commercial Counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Kenya, said the training seminar for Kenyan security personnel will enhance smooth operation of the SGR project that is an integral part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

“To protect the SGR project, the early harvest of the Belt and Road Initiative, this year we specially designed a bilateral seminar for the railway police,” said Guo.

Kenyan security officers were convinced that the China sponsored training seminar will inject fresh vitality in protection of critical infrastructure like the SGR project.

Nicholas Mutai, a 38-year-old corporal at Kenya Railways Police, applauded the Chinese government for according him an opportunity to acquire new skills in policing a transformative modern railway project.

“I thank the Chinese government for according me a chance to study and improve on my policing work,” said Mutai.

“The SGR project has been transforming this country since its launch last year and I will devote my energy to enhance its safety upon return from China,” he added.

Mutai has a 15-year experience in the National Police Service and is determined to excel in a vocation that has rapidly evolved thanks to investments in training and technology adoption.

Alice Mwarabu, a female police officer in her late 20s who is based at the port city of Mombasa, said that providing round the clock security to the SGR trains has been an honor.

“It has been an honor to serve at the SGR as a security officer and look forward to sharpen my policing skills during the training in China and apply it to boost safety of passengers traveling via SGR train,” said Mwarabu.

The bubbly officer joined the police force five years ago and is convinced that the training in China will improve her ability to provide safety to passengers and crew at the Nairobi-Mombasa SGR train.

Kenyan police officers are expected to acquire new knowledge on enhancing the safety of the SGR project during the training seminar in China.

Patrick Makokha, the deputy commandant at the railways and ports police section, said the officers who will participate in the training are expected to revolutionize security operations at the SGR project.

“We are grateful to China for assisting us build the capacity of our officers guarding the SGR and hope they will apply knowledge acquired during the training to transform our work,” said Makokha. 

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