RVR Uganda handed lifeline but it’s still in limbo

Saturday December 9 2017

A Rift Valley Railways train wagon at the Kampala station. FILE PHOTO 

A Rift Valley Railways train wagon at the Kampala station. FILE PHOTO | MONITOR 

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In a fresh turn of events, Uganda recently handed a lifeline to Rift Valley Railways when it withdrew its notice of termination to the troubled rail operator, leading the Commercial Court in Kampala to lift an injunction that the company had slapped on the government.

Despite this development two weeks ago, the rail operator has not moved an inch to resume cross-border operations which have been halted for months as crippling liabilities and a vandalised track put pressure on the company.

The EastAfrican has learnt that on November 22 – a day before the expiry of the injunction, which the court had extended several times – the government withdrew its notice of termination so that RVR could continue operating.

But it remains to be seen whether RVR can marshal the resources needed to pay staff salaries, clear debts owed to suppliers and repair the badly vandalised track in Mukono, Jinja, Iganga and Tororo, in order to resume operations.

“We decided to call their bluff,” says Charles Kateba, the managing director of Uganda Railways Corporation.

“The government withdrew to allow the legal process to expire, then we shall see what happens.”