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Ruto: I'll return port operations to Mombasa in first six months

Deputy President William Ruto and a section of the Kenya Kwanza team addressing Likoni residents at a Likoni stopover in Mombasa County on May 26, 2022. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto yesterday claimed that port operations were transferred to Naivasha and Nairobi against the agreement made before construction of the Standard Gauge Railway.

Dr Ruto said the move has benefited a few individuals at the expense of the Coast economy.

Consequently, the DP promised to roll out a programme for the return of port operations from Naivasha and Nairobi back to Mombasa within six months if elected President in the August 9 General Election.

Speaking during a stopover at Likoni ferry in Mombasa yesterday, he claimed that those who transferred port operations to Naivasha did so to benefit themselves and develop their businesses.

The DP claimed that Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya presidential candidate Raila Odinga lacks the goodwill to reverse port operations since he is President Uhuru Kenyatta’s handshake partner.

“I have signed an agreement to return the port operations back to Mombasa. This will bring jobs back to Mombasa. The operations were transferred from Mombasa to benefit a few individuals,” he said.

At the same time, Dr Ruto promised to buy one million acres of land to resettle squatters at the Coast within six months if elected president.

He said he wants to end the squatter problem through the same programme that was used in the Rift Valley in the past.

"We will start buying one million within the first months of forming the government to resettle squatters at the Coast. We are determined to end the squatter problem in this region," he said.

Dr Ruto claimed that Mr Odinga has been close to power after the handshake with President Kenyatta but failed to influence the return of the port operations to Mombasa.

“Those we are competing with have also promised to return port operations to Mombasa but they have failed to do so in four years of being in the handshake government,” he said.

The DP promised to fast track construction of a fixed bridge across the Likoni ferry channel connecting Mombasa island and the south mainland to provide an alternative to use of ferries.

He said the new bridge would complement the one at Dongo Kundu that is currently under construction to spur economic growth at the Coast.

Dr Ruto further said that a four-lane road will be constructed from Lunga Lunga to Mombasa and dual carriageway from Mombasa to Mariakani to ease transport in the region.

He pledged to build three markets in Mombasa to support small scale traders.

Ruto promised to ensure supply of water to Mombasa through the Western pipeline to bridge a deficit that has persisted for many years.

He told supporters not to be coerced by Azimio to vote for certain candidates.

“You should refuse to buy tribalism, conmanship or fear. You should refuse to be intimidated,” he said.

The DP reiterated his plan to set aside Sh100 billion to support a programme to create jobs for the youth and another Sh50 billion for small businesses.

“We are concerned about creating jobs for the young persons while our competitors do not understand what it is to be jobless,” he said.

Dr Ruto who is on a four-day campaign tour of the Coast region was accompanied by Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua, Tharaka Nithi Senator Kithure Kindiki, Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria, Nyali MP Mohamed Ali and Mombasa UDA governor aspirant Hassan Omar.

Mr Mvurya said the DP was best placed to resolve land issues and return port operations to the Coast.

“Kenya Kwanza will resolve land problems and create jobs for Coast people. It will separate Kenya Ferry Services from Kenya Ports Authority as the merger is not in our interest,” he said.

Mr Ali claimed that despite the pledge by Mr Odinga to transfer port operations back to Mombasa if he wins, it will be difficult since President Kenyatta will have influence in Azimio government.

Ruto is expected to take his campaigns to Tana River county today.