• The leaders said it will be unfair if locals will be locked out of the recruitment and the project sits in their area.
• They also called on the government to ensure compensation of fishermen is done
Coast leaders want the government to give Lamu residents priority in the ongoing recruitment for the multibillion Lapsset project ahead of the official opening next month.
Led by Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, former Lamu county chief Issa Timammy, and Woman Rep Ruweida Mohamed, the leaders said it will be unfair if locals will be locked out of the jobs when the project sits in their area.
Speaking in Lamu, the leaders also called on the government to ensure the compensation of fishermen, who were highly affected by the Lamu Port Southern Sudan Transport Corridor project, are addressed.
The first three berths of the Lapsset project are complete and President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to launch them in March.
Residents have lamented that the ongoing recruitment has not favoured the natives and that the 1,000 scholarships for the locals are yet to be fulfilled.
Further, the residents complain that the compensation for fishermen has not been done.
Joho said the Jubilee administration must ensure locals are prioritised in the recruitment.
"These are the conditions. I'm, not the governor here, or MP, but I am a leader from the Coast region and I am telling the Jubilee government to know that the recruitment of Lapsset or port of Lamu must be done in Lamu and the locals be given priority," Joho said.
He said the government cannot talk of the economy at the national level and forget about the grassroots economy.
Timamy urged MPs and senators to table the issues of compensation of fishermen in Parliament.
He said the court ruled that the fishermen be compensated, which is yet to be done.
"I am happy we have MPs present so that they can take the issue forward," he said.
Woman Rep Mohamed said she raised a question in Parliament on the issue of compensation but she is yet to get any communication.
The legislator, however, said the CS concerned with the matter would respond to the question and asked fellow MPs to ensure they turn up on the day so that they also get the answers.
She said the government promised to give 1,000 scholarships but only gave 400. The rest have not been given to date.
Kilifi Senator Stewart Madzayo promised to take up the compensation matter to the Senate.
"The issue of Lapsset has to be addressed openly without hiding so that the native Lamu people get jobs at the port," Madzayo said.
He added that even if it means going to the international courts, they are able and have the expertise to follow that route so that locals get justice.
Mombasa Senator Mohamed Faki also said they would stand with the people of Lamu to ensure they get their rights.
"I am a lawyer and retired judge. Madzayo is a lawyer, and all of us will work together, even if it will mean going to court. We will stand with Lamu people until justice is done to them," he said.