Coast leaders plan to meet President Kenyatta next month to push for the completion of key projects.
“We are hoping to have a two-hour meeting with you when you come to officiate the Agricultural Society of Kenya show next month,” Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho said at Mombasa port on Tuesday during the flagging off of Kenya’s inaugural oil shipment.
“We hope this meeting will see the projects realised to benefit coastal people.” The governors, including Joho (Mombasa), Salim Mvurya (Kwale), Fahim Twaha (Lamu) and Granton Samboja (Taita Taveta) said the projects will create thousands of jobs and salvage the region’s economy.
Projects whose completion the leaders want the President to expedite include the Sh30 billion Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone in Mombasa, the Sh20 billion Shimoni fishing port in Kwale and the Sh42 billion Mzima II water project.
Mr Samboja wants to hold talks with the President on the sharing of revenue from Tsavo National Park, a call Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala has rejected.
“The port is very dear to us, but if the Dongo Kundu project is to come to fruition today, it will employ 10 times what the port is hiring. It’s our responsibility to ensure this dream is realised,” Mr Joho said, and urged Mr Kenyatta to consider putting up a petrochemical industry in Changamwe.
Mr Joho stressed the need for pre-export value addition by area residents saying: “We cannot stay stagnant. We have an oil refinery in Changamwe, which we can make good use of.”
He asked the President to call a meeting of coastal leaders after his Japan visit to discuss economic diversification.
President Kenyatta left for the Tokyo International Conference for African Development summit Tuesday. He promised to discuss funding of the Dongo Kundu project with Japanese officials.
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) will build the Dongo Kundu port, while the Kenya National Highway Authority will build the road linking the economic zone to the port. Phase I of the road is complete, while construction of phases II and II is starting soon.
The economic zone will house firms that will process goods for export, a move that should improve Kenya’s trade and create jobs. Mr Mvurya called for the completion of Shimoni port.
“You gave us Kanana-Shimoni road, which is now completed; we plead that building of Shimoni port be hastened,” he said.
Mr Twaha said he was looking forward to the opening of Lamu port to “create opportunities for our people.”
We also want oil to pass through Lamu because the port was put up for that purpose,” he said. Last week KPA announced that the first berth at Lamu port will be commissioned in October with the first vessel scheduled to dock at the facility on 20th of same month.
“We are pleading for a small share of the revenue from Tsavo because it covers 62 per cent of the county,” said Mr Samboja.
The two Tsavo parks cover 10 million acres.