Coast leaders seek Ruto help on stalled projects

The post is held by Mr John Mwangemi on an acting capacity. For years, Coast leaders have been pushing to have a local head KPA.

In the run-up to last year's election, Ruto inked a political deal with the then Kilifi Governor Amason Kingi's Pamoja Africa Alliance (PAA) promising coastal plum State jobs at the port of Mombasa.

Meanwhile, Ruto said the construction of the SEZ expected to make Mombasa a logistics and manufacturing hub will be completed in the next two years. Ruto told Coast leaders that the project, which will create 100,000 jobs, will be ready by 2025 instead of 2027 as had been planned.

Ruto said the SEZ will include the establishment of a Free Trade Zone, free port, logistic hub, and an industrial zone.

"I will ensure the Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone which was to be completed in 2027 is done by 2025 for Mombasa residents to start reaping benefits," said Ruto.

The construction of phase I of the industrial hub, financed by a Sh6 billion grant and Sh50 billion concessional loan from JICA, is ongoing.

In a recent interview, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mombasa branch chairman Mustafa Ramadhan called on the government to prioritise the project.

Mr Ramadhan said the SEZ will create jobs and alternative revenue streams following massive losses due to the implementation of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

Meanwhile, Ruto promised to launch the construction of the Sh15 billion Mwache Dam in Kwale, which has been postponed countless times, before the end of his tour in Mombasa.

A Chinese firm, Sino Hydro Corporation and Engineering signed the deal in 2018, but the work is yet to start. Last year, the commencement of construction was postponed twice.

Speaking at Siloam Ministry Church in Bamburi, the president said the project will boost the supply of water into Mombasa and Kwale counties.

On Saturday, Ruto met governors Abdulswamad Nassir (Mombasa), Gideon Mung'aro (Kilifi), and Issa Timamy (Lamu). Others in the meeting were MPs Sudi Machele (Mvita), Badi Twalib (Jomvu), Ruweda Obb (Lamu East) and Mohamed Ali of Nyali. "I will launch the Mwache Water Dam project before I go back to Nairobi. The project will make residents have enough water when complete in two years," said Ruto.

Ruto said he will speed up the second Mzima pipeline project in Taita Taveta and the Mwache dam project in Kwale to ensure enough water supply to Kilifi and other parts.

The president said thanked Coast leaders allied to opposition outfit Azimio la Umoja for agreeing to work with him to develop the region.

Ruto supported Governor Nassir over his stand that worship places in Mombasa should not pay land rates.

The Presidents asked Mombasa residents to plant more trees. "I want every Mombasa resident to plant at least 300 trees this year to help conserve the environment," said Ruto.