Governor Abdulswamad Nassir: Nothing has changed at Mombasa port despite Ruto order

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir takes an oath of office during his inauguration as the second Governor of Mombasa at Mama Ngina waterfront in Mombasa County on Thursday 15th September 2022. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

Governor Abdulswamad Nassir yesterday thanked President William Ruto for reverting port services to the coastal town, terming the decision as a good beginning aimed at reviving the economy.

Mr Nassir, however, challenged the President to “move with speed and ensure the order becomes a reality because as of yesterday there was no official communication to the effect of the orders.”

“I want to welcome the decision of the President to revert port services to Mombasa from Naivasha. But what I know following reports I got from the port is that things are still the way they were on Tuesday despite the order,” he said.

The governor promised to work with the national government where the law permitted, saying he would not kneel and beg for what was due to the county.

Mr Nassir was speaking at Mama Ngina Waterfront after his official inauguration that was presided over by Justice George Dulu and Mombasa Chief Magistrate Martha Mutuku.

Nassir, who was sworn in alongside his deputy governor Francis Thoya, asked residents to be vigilant and hold him accountable on managing county affairs.

“The first thing I am ordering today is to waive all penalties levied against businessmen in the town so that we can start on a clean slate,” he said.

He promised to treat county workers with dignity and said he would try and ensure they got their salaries without any delays. The governor urged county askaris to stop harassing traders and demanding for bribes, saying the matter was a burning issue among Coast residents.

Nassir denied claims he was former Governor Hassan Joho’s project, instead insisting he would discharge his duties as the servant of Mombasa people. Mr Joho took up the matter, saying, “Nassir is just a good leader and that is why I respect and know he will develop Mombasa more than what I have done.”

Mr Thoya told county workers who have been demanding for kickbacks from businesspeople to brace for hard times.

“I am warning those workers who move from one business to the other looking for bribes that Magufuli is back in action,” said Thoya, who was compared to the tough Tanzania President John Magufuli when he was chief officer in Joho’s government.

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The governor said he would keep his campaign promise of introducing village services in every sub-county.

On health, Nassir said he will introduce ‘Baba Care’ health programme to ensure residents stop worrying about getting treatment when they fall sick.

He promised to transform the town into one of the best places to live in the country.

“We are going to introduce automatic approval for those who want to build their houses in Mombasa without subjecting future landlords to problems they have been facing where approving drawing for buildings was a nightmare,” said Nassir.

The occasion was attended by Azimio leaders Kalonzo Musyoka and Martha Karua, Azimio MPs led by Senator Ledama Ole Kina, Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris, Sabina Chege, Senator Mohamed Faki, Mishi Mboko, Fatma Masitu, Omar Mwinyi, Twalib Badi, Rashid Bezimba and Paul Katana.

Kalonzo said politicking was not over. “It was only the campaign which was over. As such, as opposition we must keep the government on its toes.”