SECTIONS

Uhuru Kenyatta says William Ruto insincere about the port, defends Naivasha depot

President Uhuru Kenyatta (centre) during the official opening of The Naivasha Inland Container Depot (NICD). [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta has faulted his deputy William Ruto for promising to return port operations to Mombasa.

Speaking during the groundbreaking of a Sh90 billion Turkish Special Economic Zone (SEZ) next to the Naivasha Inland Container Depot (NICD), yesterday, the president termed Ruto's promise populist and deceitful.

He said the Turkish special economic zone would generate up to Sh500 billion in annual revenue.

"There is nothing bad like politics of deceit, disrespect, intimidation and insults which don't put food on the table. I have seen a leader whom I don't want to mention say we have taken the port from Mombasa to Naivasha," said Uhuru.

"I can't move the ocean to Naivasha. Only God can do that. Not even a president who has whatever power can. We brought this railway here to attract investors who would not have come," he added.

He accused Ruto of double-speak, saying Kenyans had learned his political tricks.

"I find no reason for someone to call Naivasha people his hustlers then go to Mombasa and say something different. Double-speak is unacceptable," said Uhuru.

He further criticised the DP for his continuous attacks on the handshake with ODM leader Raila Odinga saying Kenyans had realised tangible development from the same.

"You say the handshake has not done anything. What is this? The leader has been in government and is still criticising this. Even people in other areas deserve a change in life," he said.

The president announced that similar special economic zones were being set up in Nyanza and Murang'a which will transform Kenya into a net exporter of goods and create jobs.

While assuring Kenyans of a peaceful election on August 9, Uhuru appealed to residents to elect Raila to succeed him saying he has the mettle to industrialise the country.

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the dream of a functioning special economic zone had inched closer to realisation with residents set to get fluoride-free water for the first time.

"The fast-tracking of the Nairobi-Maai Mahiu SGR was for this SEZ to be successful. It came with additional power generation and water supply for the local community and entire country," said Macharia.

Governor Kinyanjui thanked the president for protecting the ICD saying its implementation was visionary for a country grappling with high unemployment.

He promised to work with local leaders to ensure the depot and economic zone do not collapse after Uhuru's tenure. "What was a dream for the last five years is now a reality."