List of seven ‘Handshake projects’ Uhuru set to launch in Nyanza
President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to commission several projects in Kisumu when he tours the lakeside city for the Madaraka Day celebrations next week.
The projects were undertaken following the historic Handshake with Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) leader Raila Odinga in March 2018.
Among the projects earmarked for unveiling by the Head of State are Sh3.8 billion rehabilitated Nakuru-Kisumu Metre Gauge Railway, Sh3 billion refurbished Kisumu port, Sh350 million ultra-modern Uhuru business park, Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium at the Mamboleo ASK ground, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Sports Complex, Inland Container Depot at Kibos and 400kv power project by Ketraco.
The President will also commission a marine school in Kisumu which is part of the Railway Training Institute among other projects.
Already Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) has confirmed that the Nakuru-Kisumu railway line in nearly complete ahead of its scheduled launch next week.
KRC board chairman Maj Gen (Rtd) Umudho Awitta announced yesterday that work on the rehabilitated railway line is almost complete.
“The remaining minor works will be completed by next month,” he said.
Awitta hinted that President Uhuru and Raila will be the first group of passengers to take a ride on the railway line enroute to Kisumu for the Madaraka Day celebrations on Tuesday next week.
“It is very likely that the President and his Handshake partner Raila will ride on the train to officially commission the project,” Awitta said.
Speaking in Kisumu on Monday during an inspection tour of the ongoing works on the railway line, he said KR will then commence full passenger services on the line once the remaining works are completed.
“After the launch, Kenya Railways will announce the dates when passenger services would commence.
Therefore, the citizens will be aware of the time our operations start and tariffs,” he said.
He said the rehabilitation of the railway line presents a good opportunity for investors to do business, noting that KR will not only run passenger services but cargo services as well.
“It will be very important not only to get goods coming into Kisumu from Mombasa but it will also be ideal to export goods from this region to Nairobi and eventually outside the country,” Awitta said, while urging residents to take advantage and utilise the facility that has remained unused for a long time.
The MGR line, which connects to the Sh3 billion refurbished Kisumu port, is also expected to boost cargo transport on the route and eventually enable the country to tap into the region’s export market.
Further, it is primed to hasten transportation in the region that majorly relies on the road network.
Awitta stated that the Nakuru railway line which is also under rehabilitation, is ready for use for the trains from Mombasa, Nairobi, Longonot up to Malaba.
The chairman was flanked by Petroleum and Mining Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau and Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC) chairman John Ngumi.
In January, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia confirmed that the facility was 98 per cent complete ahead of its commissioning.
He said the remaining two per cent works on the Sh3billion refurbished port would be ready in time to pave way for the commissioning exercise by the President.
“We understand there is high anticipation on when the port will be officially commissioned. From our assessment, we have agreed that the port is 98 per cent ready, what is remaining is just fixing a few things here and there before the official date of opening is confirmed thereafter,” Macharia said after a meeting with various stakeholders preparing the port for launch.
Plans to open the port initially scheduled for August 15 last year but were indefinitely postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.