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Maritime sector salutes Kibaki for Coast projects

By Patrick Beja | Apr 28th 2022 | 3 min read
President Uhuru Kenyatta is shown a sketch map of Lamu Port City by Lapsset  Regional Manager Salim Bunu during a visit in 2019. [File]

Former President Mwai Kibaki left his footprints all over the maritime industry at the Coast, players in the sector say. 

Maritime experts said most Blue Economy projects, either complete or ongoing, were initiated by President Kibaki after he took over power in 2002. Among the initiatives are the building of the Lamu Port and the creation of the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), which regulates all maritime services.

Kibaki further left a huge mark at the Coast including plans for the development of the much touted Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Key infrastructure component of the Dongo Kundu include the longest bridge to link Mombasa island and Tsunza peninsula in Kwale County, which is almost complete.

Former Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Managing Director Brown Ondego said that Kibaki revived plans to establish the Dongo Kundu project that started in the 1970s. The project being done on 3,000 acres of land near Mombasa Port is expected to boost the local economy and create thousands of jobs. Ondego said Kibaki who died on Friday should be commended for the expansion of the Mombasa Port container terminal and initiating the development of Lamu Port.

Dongo Kundu project

“President Kibaki should be commended for revival of discussion on development of Dongo Kundu, plans for construction of Lamu Port and the expansion of the Mombasa Port container terminal plans to establish Dongo Kundu project started in the 1970s but Mauritius borrowed the idea from Kenya and implemented it,” he noted.

Kenya Ships Agents Association (Ksaa) vice chairman and Managing Director of the Express Shipping Logistics East Africa  Mr Sylvester Kututa commended President Kibaki for establishing KMA which successfully fought for Kenya’s white-listing of seafarers training making them acceptable across the globe. Kututa who is a former KMA board member noted that the maritime industry regulator has also served as the catalyst for propelling the country’s blue economy programme.

“Kibaki started the Standard Gauge Railway project, initiated road projects around the port and stabilised port operation making it financially viable. He initiated debate on Dongo Kundu and construction of Shimoni port, which are being pursued by the current regime,” he argued.

Former KMA board chairman Mwalimu Digore said Kibaki created and built the maritime industry regulator to ensure it streamlined and modernised the sector.

“President Kibaki created, strengthened and grew KMA which was once a department of KPA. He ensured it was able to regulate the maritime industry and make Kenya a respected maritime nation. He initiated plans to make Bandari College a maritime centre of excellence,” he observed.

Dock Workers Union (DWU) General Secretary Simon Sang said yesterday President Kibaki expanded Mombasa Port which was congested. Sang noted that Kibaki started the Sh30b container terminal two and the relocation of Kipevu Oil terminal at a cost of Sh40 billion.

“The expansion of the port was part of Vision 2030 flagship projects and helped end frequent congestion. The building of container terminal two came with relocation of Kipevu oil terminal as a package. The expansion project started with construction of berth number 19,” he noted.

He commended President Kibaki for pushing for the establishment of the Dongo Kundu project which is to create thousands of jobs. 

“Dongo Kundu project is the President’s brainchild and we are happy that it will become a business and  employment hub for the country once completed,” Sang said.

President Kibaki’s former Coast political ally and Lamu politician Rishad Amana commended the former Head of State for initiating the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport corridor projects which includes the Lamu port.

“Kibaki presided over the groundbreaking of Lapsset projects in 2012 and the people of Lamu and Coast region have hope despite the slow implementation rate. We hope to have a better economy and get jobs,” he said.

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