Homa Bay airstrip unlocks region's door of opportunity

Residents of Kabunde Village in Homa Bay county mill around an aeroplane that landed at the county’s airstrip yesterday after CORD leader Raila Odinga launched it. [PHOTO: DENISH OCHIENG/STANDARD

KENYA: The western Kenya tourism circuit got a shot in the arm yesterday when an airstrip was opened in Homa Bay County.

Kabunde airstrip in Homa Bay Town Constituency was officially opened in a ceremony presided over by CORD leader Raila Odinga.

Immediately after the launch, Five Forty Aviation (FFA) Ltd announced that its aircraft will be plying the route from Nairobi.

Raila said the flights are expected to improve not only the economy of Homa Bay, but the entire Western Kenya region.

He told area residents to boost agricultural production as the airstrip will make it possible for their produce to be exported.

“Kenya heavily depends on agricultural production and operationalisation of this airstrip should be viewed in terms of agricultural production because it will enable our farmers to export their goods to other continents like Europe,” Raila said.

He accused past governments of neglecting the Western Kenyan tourism circuit for many years and told the locals to utilise the new facility effectively.

“Tourism in this country has always been concentrated in the coastal region rather than here. What is happening today is an effort to bridge that gap and I want it to continue so that all Kenyans can have equal opportunities of wealth creation,” he added.


The ODM leader told Western Kenya leaders not to politicise the opening of the airstrip. “I want all leaders from this region to understand that this airstrip is not in competition with any other facility in this region. I understand the one at Suneka in Kisii County is also developing well and that is a good move that will help our people,” he added.

Homa Bay Governor Cyprian Awiti, his Deputy Hamilton Orata, legislators Gladys Wanga (Homa Bay County) and Millie Odhiambo (Mbita) said the airstrip will enhance the county’s income by bringing in more tourists.

“We have Ruma National Park, Simbi Nyaima and other tourist attractions which will attract more tourists from various countries as a result of this airstrip,” said Awiti.