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Coast leaders present list of demands to DP William Ruto

POLITICS
By Benard Sanga | May 23rd 2021
Deputy President William Ruto (left) confers with Kilifi North MP Owen Baya (center) and former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar Sarai during a retreat with Coast leaders and professionals at the Sun N Sand Hotel in Kilifi County. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Deputy President William Ruto on Saturday launched a broadside against the government's borrowing plan, saying the ballooning foreign debt was a threat to the nation.

Speaking after a two-day retreat with Coast leaders and professionals, Dr Ruto said if elected president, he would reduce the country’s debt burden.

“Instead of borrowing, we will enhance and expand our savings. Borrowing is threatening our nation,” said Ruto after receiving an 18-point economic blueprint from coastal leaders.

The DP did not say how his administration would finance the multi-billion shilling projects in the blueprint. He, however, promised to sign a charter with the Coast on the agreed plan.

In his new political plan targeting regional blocs, Ruto said he would negotiate with people in former eight provinces and develop plans to unshackle the nation from chains of poverty.

He said Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok would coordinate all the “hustle nation activities.”

After the Coast, the DP is scheduled to meet leaders from Nairobi before heading to Western.

“We must establish a charter. I’m ready to sign a charter with the people of Coast on what needs to be delivered during my administration,” declared Ruto in Kilifi.

Yesterday, a section of Coast leaders tabled 18-wish list of demands they said would form the basis of the charter or covenant between the region and the DP.

The economic plan dubbed, The Coast Regeneration Plan, touch on revival of collapsed factories, blue economy, value-additions, special economic zones, tourism and agriculture.

"These big issues were broken into 18," said former Kisauni MP Ananiah Mwaboza who once served as constitutional advisor to the office of the deputy president. 

The plan appeared to borrow heavily from the 2030 economic blueprint developed by Jumuiya ya Kaunti za Pwani in 2015. Ruto said it would be subjected to public participation.

Former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar said the Coast would support Ruto's presidential ambitions on certain terms which he has committed to meet.

"We will cascade it down to villages. It will be a people's plan. We are happy tha the DP wants to become president on certain terms. In the last three days, we have come up with the plan for the Coast," said Omar.

Malindi MP Aisha Jumwa said Coast people would organise how to be part of the team that provide solutions for problems facing the region.

"We want partnership. We will partner with you and see whether you will met all our demands and if you do so, we will be with you all the way," said Jumwa.

Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani said the economic plan presented to the DP was work in progress, addding that it had left out key areas like ports and harbours.

"I did not hear anything about the Shimoni Port, which is what the people of Kwale want. I hope the DP will implement it once he is elected," said Mwashetani.

The DP said the economic plan was not final as it would be subjected to public participation.

“A lot of input must come from the people. The plan will be taken to the wards and villagers because it is about them and not us politicians,” said Ruto, who met 12 elected MPs from Coast.

Others present during the meeting in Kilifi were a section former MPs and professionals. Conspicuously absent from the process was Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya.

None of the other five governors from the Coast attended the retreat.

 

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