I'll deliver campaign promises, Ruto says as he tours Coast

President William Ruto at Muungano Grounds, Mpeketoni, Lamu County for a thanksgiving Church service on February 26, 2023. [PCS]

President William Ruto has urged Kenyans to avoid divisive and tribal politics while promising a slew of benefits to Coast residents.

Ruto and his deputy, Rigathi Gachagua, wooed Coast Azimio politicians, including Lamu East MP Ruweida Mohamed of Kanu, to collaborate with Kenya Kwanza for development.

Ruto said it was pointless for leaders to engage in divisive and tribalism politics at the expense of development during a thanksgiving ceremony yesterday at Muungano grounds in Mpeketoni, Lamu county.

Pooling funds

President Ruto said national and county developments would pool funds to develop aggregated industrial parks for agricultural produce storage and value addition, as well as eliminate brokers and cartels who have denied farmers and fishermen good returns in the past.

Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River, Taita Taveta, Lamu, and Kwale will contribute Sh100 million to the industrial park programme in the first phase, with the national government matching that amount.

“We will continue to invest until our farmers are protected from the cartels who have exploited them for years,” he said.

President Ruto said the government will start buying land from absentee landlords in the next budget to settle squatters.

“We committed to settling squatters, and therefore, we have plans to start buying land. We will sort out the land issue in Coast, so be patient,” he said.

He said Sh3.5 billion would be used to fund beach landing sites in Lamu, Tana River, Kilifi, Mombasa and Kwale to ensure fishermen have cold storage facilities to ensure their catch does not go to waste.

Expanding ports

The facilities will be at Mokowe, Kipini, Ngomeni, Kilifi, Liwatoni, Gasi and Vanga.

President Ruto also said Lamu and Mombasa ports are to be expanded, and special economic zones developed to boost business, noting that the two facilities have the potential to generate up to Sh100 billion in a year.

He said Sh320 million has been set aside to compensate fishermen in Mombasa, set to lose income due to port development at Dongo Kundu and another Sh50 million for fishermen in Lamu county.

On security, President Ruto said the government will spend Sh30 billion to buy modern equipment for security officers.

“Nobody will graze livestock with a gun. Only security officers will be holding guns,” he said.

Ruto promised to speed up the construction of roads linking the Lamu ports and the hinterland to attract business. 

Kilifi North MP Owen Baya said Coast leaders will work with Ruto despite Azimio leadership warnings.