Raila, Nyanza MPs to meet Uhuru today over projects
Opposition leader Raila Odinga is this morning expected to take leaders from Nyanza region to meet President Uhuru Kenyatta ahead of Madaraka Day celebrations in Kisumu on Tuesday.
The President and Raila called for the joint meeting to agree on projects to be implemented by the government in the region before Uhuru’s term ends next year.
The leaders have been caucusing since Wednesday in what is known as ‘Duol’ to fine-tune memoranda to be presented to the President.
The leaders are said to have lined up development projects that affect not only Kisumu, but the Lake Basin region.
Among the key projects expected to open up the region include the Kisumu Port, Lake Basin region ring road, Mamboleo-Muhoroni Road, Ahero Irrigation Scheme, rehabilitation of feeder ports in Mbita, Homa Bay as well as other link roads in the four counties around the lake.
Peter Kaluma (Homa Bay Town) told People Daily that the ‘Duol’ has been meeting to take stock of the development projects following a meeting with the President when he visited the region to launch the refurbishment of the port.
Kaluma disclosed that the meeting has been deliberating at what has been achieved so far and the status of ongoing projects.
“We have been meeting to review the development programmes that have been ongoing in the region, at what stage they are and what needs to be done before they are completed during the sunset days of President Kenyatta’s term in office,” said Kaluma.
The leaders also want the government to issue Tom Mboya University College a charter to fully exploit the academic wealth of Homa Bay area, the implementation of the Koru-Soin dam project and Mamboleo-Muhoroni road to ease traffic along Muhoroni-Awasi-Kisumu road.
Kaluma argued that opening up of Kisumu port without a proper plan to rehabilitate smaller ports in Homa Bay, Mbita and Sindo would not be of much economic value.
“Kisumu is the hub of the entire East Africa region. Opening up of only Kisumu port without the others will not serve the lake transport system efficiently,” said Kaluma.
A source who also attended the meeting told People Daily that the revival of the troubled sugar industry, revival of oil jetties, the Migingo Island boundary dispute with Uganda and the cotton industry that thrived in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as completion of the Handshake projects tops the list of issues the leaders want addressed.
The source further divulged that the ‘Duol’ had already drafted a communiqué detailing projects in several key sectors including the education sector, road networks, construction of dams and the agriculture sector.
Kisumu residents are also raising concern over the implementation of the Jomo Kenyatta Sports Complex at a cost of Sh350 million which critics say does not meet international standards.
In the region, Muhoroni, Miwani, Sony and Chemelil- four State-owned sugar mills which employed thousands of locals in the past have been struggling to stay afloat.
In 2019, Uhuru and Raila proposed the privatisation of the sugar mills, but the proposal is yet to be implemented even as cane farmers in the region continue to bear the brunt of the troubled industry.
Nyando MP Jared Okello wants Uhuru’s administration to find a lasting solution to woes of the sugar and textile sectors.
“We are requesting the government to fast-track reforms in the sugar sector. As leaders from this region, we hope the mills will get more funding because their equipment are dilapidated,” said Okello.
Luo MPs caucus chairman James Nyikal disclosed that meetings which have been held since Wednesday were meant to organise the welcoming of the President in Kisumu.
On Monday, Raila addressed impromptu rallies in Kisumu and appealed to residents to give the President a rousing welcome.
“I have come here with a message. My message to you is that we are having high-level guests next week and I want you to warmly welcome the President and his entourage,” said Raila.
The MP said residents were unhappy about slow implementation of projects in the region.
Meanwhile, Raila yesterday met former United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Director General (UNCTAD) Mukhisa Kituyi at his residence in Nairobi.
“Spent part of the day catching up with Dr Mukhisa Kituyi and his wife at their residence. We compared notes and exchanged views on several topical issues. Good seeing this family,” said Raila.
This is the fourth time in recent months that the two leaders have met to catch up on political and national issues.