BUNGOMA: President Uhuru Kenyatta will visit Western Kenya on August 30, barely a month after Opposition leader Raila Odinga made a five-day tour of the region. Organisers of the tour say top on the agenda will be the official opening of the Webuye Pan Paper Mill, which was sold to a private investor for Sh900 million. He will also initiate several development projects in Bungoma, Kakamega and Vihiga counties.
Lately, the Western region has attracted interests of both Jubilee and Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) in equal measure.
Bungoma Governor Ken Lusaka (inset), who is among top leaders from the region organising the forthcoming tour, said everything was progressing smoothly. The meeting to discuss preparations on how the president will be received is slated for Tuesday in Nairobi at Harambee House and Jubilee-allied politicians from Western are expected to attend.
“We are prepared and ready to receive the President. He is coming with enough goodies for our people,” said Lusaka.
Mumias East MP Ben Washiali said President Kenyatta was coming to fulfill the promises he made to the people of that area.
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There are however dissenting voices from residents and some lawmakers, who are complaining that after three years in power, the Jubilee administration has not initiated any project.
Critics argue that current projects in the region were initiated by the grand coalition government.
Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale has expressed his reservations on the impending tour saying, “If he is coming for development purposes then the tour is welcome.”
Many roads are lined up for commissioning, among them Kakamega-Malava Road whose construction has stalled for over three years now after the contractor was fired by the government for alleged incompetence.
The president will also commission construction of Bungoma-Lwakhakha, Musikoma-Buyofu and Eshianda-Nambacha roads. He is also going to launch other sustainable projects, namely Sirisia and Mumias water projects. Mumias water project is already functional.
Uhuru will also inaugurate Kaimosi College to become an official constituent of Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology.
During his tour, he will also pass by Mumias Sugar Company to view the progress after the national government disbursed a staggering Sh2.1 billion shillings to revamp the miller.
Other supplementary projects will be the commissioning of some Technical Training Institutes in some three constituencies. Ben Washiali (Mumias East), Johnson Naicca (Mumias West) and Emmanuel Wangwe (Navakholo) - MPs of the three constituencies - are supporters of the Jubilee administration. President Kenyatta will in addition be keen to woo the electorate to his side ahead of the next polls considering that Western region overwhelmingly voted for the Opposition in 2013.
The President is set to urge the Luhya community to support the yet-to-be launched Jubilee party. Already, New Ford Kenya that is associated with Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa has wound up to join the Jubilee Party. It remains to be seen whether Budalang’i MP Ababu Namwamba, who resigned as secretary general of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) will warm up to the President.