Why President didn’t launch all projects lined up in Nyanza visit

Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong'o at Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Mamboleo, Kisumu, during Madaraka Day on June 01, 2021.

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s three-day visit to Nyanza has boosted the hope of residents after the Head of State launched several projects.

Despite not launching all the projects lined up during the visit, his vow to return to the region left many a resident hopeful.  

Prior to his visit, the government had outlined, among other projects to be launched, the Kisumu Port, Kisumu Ship Yard, Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium, Uhuru Business Park, Mamboleo-Muhoroni road and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Sports Complex.

The President was also expected to launch a number of projects in Homa Bay and Siaya counties. While he managed to launch Sh2.4 billion Sibo Water project in Yala, and a Sh1.4 billion Kodiaga-Wagai-Akala road in Siaya, the President did not show up in Homa Bay to launch the Mbita Causeway and a number of inland ports, which have been renovated.

In Kisumu, the Sh3 billion Port was not launched, and the President did not ride on the train as had earlier been scheduled.

However, it was not clear why these major projects were not launched, with the President announcing that he would be back to the region in the next two months to launch more projects. “When I return in the next two months, I will launch the Special Economic Zone to be set up in Muhoroni, and many more projects which are in the pipeline,” Uhuru said.

Yesterday, County Commissioner Josephine Ouko dismissed claims that the projects that were not launched by the President were incomplete.

According to Ms Ouko, the President’s tight schedule made it impossible for him to see all the projects. “On the first day of the visit, the President went to Siaya, and came back to Kisumu late because of the amount of work he had there. On the second day, the President received Burundi’s President and there were bilateral talks, before he later launched the Ship Yard,” said Ms Ouko.

On the third day, the President presided over the Madaraka Day celebrations and left for Nairobi late in the evening.

Ouko said the visit was a success. She attributed the success to cooperation from all stakeholders who participated in organising it.

And if the President’s visit was a blessing to Nyanza residents, then his utterances and body language just spiced it up. During his Madaraka Day speech, one statement stood out: “Being in Kisumu today is significant and uplifting as we forge lasting bonds between the people of Kenya. This congregation is also a celebration of the ‘Handshake’; a new political normal that not only embraces competition, but also encourages reconciliation, and the healing of wounds - regardless of how fierce the competition was.”

This was coupled with referring to ODM leader Raila Odinga as “my brother” in many instances in his speech.

The President also promised to support Kisumu County Government in organising the Africities Conference set for April next year.

According to Ms Ouko, Uhuru’s visit saw a number of jobs created through construction works, which were intensified ahead of the Madaraka Day event.

She said with the President’s promise to return to the region, residents must now position themselves to repeat the success witnessed in the recent visit.