Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho’s assertions the national government has started transferring port services to Naivasha are untrue, Transport CS James Macharia has said.
On Sunday last week, during the Coast People’s Assembly in Mombasa, Joho led other members to resolve to secede if major transfer of port services to inland ports becomes a reality.
Before the August 8 election, Joho clashed with President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto over the transfer of port services.
Uhuru and Ruto said it was practically impossible to transfer port services. However Joho insisted that the construction of the Inland Container Depot in Naivasha was evidence enough.
On Friday, Macharia told journalists in Mombasa that Joho’s debate is “illogical.” He said the Mombasa economy will not be ruined by construction of inland container depots in Naivasha and elsewhere.
“I thought this [transfer of port services to Naivasha] was a political debate that ended with the election.
I’m surprised it is still coming up. It is a very illogical statement,” Macharia said.
He spoke after a meeting with members of the National Assembly Transport Committee at the English Point Marina.
He said the national government would not have built the standard gauge railway linking it with the Port of Mombasa or continue with the expansion works at the port if there are plans to shift its services to Naivasha.
“It is practically impossible to move the Port of Mombasa, which is handling 1.2 million containers, a port that is handling 28 million tonnes of cargo to Naivasha,” Macharia said.
Joho said jobs will be lost and the Coast economy sabotaged by inland ports. He said Jubilee wants to subjugate Mombasa and force it to its “deathbed”. But Macharia said the ongoing expansion of the port and the mega projects coming up in the region will open up Mombasa.
“We have already initiated the second phase of the second container terminal at the Port of Mombasa. We are doing this with the help of the Japanese government.
This means that more jobs with come up and the economy of Mombasa will also grow,” he said.