Prime Minister Raila Odinga yesterday avoided the land issue at a Kwale rally despite being in the region with the highest number of squatters.
The Prime Minister fell short of talking about land t had been the key to his running mate Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and would-be leader of majority trade minister Moses Wetangula.
The issue has been a concern with the national and integration Cohesion commission and police inspector general David Kimaiyo warning that it could create tension and conflict.
Raila dwelled on jobs even after Wetangula and Kalonzo said Kwale and Coast in general had the highest number of squatters in the country adding that a Cord government would address the issue.
“As a cord team we are particularly interested in the creation of jobs to our youth and improvement of the economy in general through setting a special business fund for youth and women,” Raila said.
The PM said Coast has a great potential to benefit all Kenyans only if the tourism sector would be jump started to bring in more tourists.
“This is a tourist hub but unfortunately the tourism sector has not been given much focus and we want to pledge that we can bring in over 5 million tourists to Kenya if we are elected,” said the PM.
Raila who said increasing the number of tourists from the current 1.5 million per year was possible cited Egypt and Dubai which he said recorded 25 million and 10 million tourist respectively.
He said hundreds of jobs could be created if only more ports were set up along the Coast saying Shimoni in Kwale could be a good port as well as rolling out the Dongo Kundu by-pass to decongest Mombasa.
“We have a number of neighbours in this region including DRC, Ethiopia, Southern Sudan, Sudan who need port services but unfortunately we only have one operational port yet Shimoni can be useful,” said Raila.
He said the fishing industry could bring in millions to the country if modern fishing methods and cooling plants are established in Coast for export fishing.
Kalonzo who spoke before Raila at the rally said the squatter problem would be addressed once the coalition sweeps to power to ensure that nobody lives as squatter in their own country.
“We are going to use constitutional and legal frameworks to address the perennial squatter issue in Coast and the country at large to ensure that all Kenyans never squat in their own country,” said the VP.
Wetangula also reiterated the land issue saying it is a terrible scandal in Coast and parts of Rift Valley and Western 50 years after independence and vowed that it would be dealt with once Cord sweeps to power.