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FINAL TOUR

Security tight as Uhuru set to commission Kisumu Shipyard

Police officers were also strategically deployed around roads leading to Kisumu State Lodge.

In Summary

•Uhuru will oversee the floatation of the MV Uhuru II ship.

•At the port’s main entrance, security checks were tight with journalists required to carry their press cards and national identification cards.

President Uhuru Kenyatta Kenyatta addressing Residents and leaders in Kisumu on Sunday.
President Uhuru Kenyatta Kenyatta addressing Residents and leaders in Kisumu on Sunday.
Image: FAITH MATETE

Security has been heightened at the Kisumu port and its environs as President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to commission the Kisumu Shipyard Limited.

Uhuru will oversee the floatation of the MV Uhuru II ship which is nearing completion.

Police officers were also strategically deployed around roads leading to Kisumu State Lodge.

 At the port’s main entrance, security checks were tight with journalists required to carry press cards and national identification cards to access the port.

Journalists were required to leave their IDs with the military officers manning the gate before being issued a military gate pass.

There is the main dais where the president will preside over the commissioning with another tent for entertainment, a restaurant and three tents for invited guests.

Residents braved the cold and chilly weather to bid farewell to President Uhuru who is making his last working tour of Kisumu.

They lined up next to the gate hoping to be allowed access to the port.

Kisumu governor Anyang Nyong’o, Kisumu speaker Elisha Oraro, Kisumu acting City manager Abala Wanga, Kisumu Senate ODM candidate Prof Tom Ojienda have arrived.

Senior government officials are present. Residents are in high spirits, hoping that the Head of State will make stopovers in Kisumu to address them before heading to Vihiga and Bungoma counties to launch projects.

Mercy Otieno, a resident, expressed confidence that the port and the railway station will create job opportunities for youths.

“We will have various business opportunities with launched projects,” Otieno said.

Uhuru, whose term comes to an end next week, arrived in Kisumu on Monday and officially opened the new ultra-modern Kisumu Railway Station.

The station is located on Busia Road next to Kisumu Cotton Mills (KICOMI).

Uhuru first landed on Monday evening in Miwani where he inspected rehabilitation works on the Nakuru-Kisumu railway line implemented by the Kenya Defence Forces.

The president later visited the Kisumu Railways station where he officially opened the facility.

The station was constructed as part of rehabilitation works of the Nakuru-Kisumu railway and the re-introduction of passenger service on the route.

It is equipped with a spacious ticketing zone, lounge and powerful public address system.

Next to the Railway Station is a business complex with 50,000 square feet of commercial rental space available to traders looking to benefit from the facility.

Uhuru commended KDF for their work and also the NYS, saying infrastructure was key to unlocking the economy of the lakeside city.

The ship, one of the largest on Lake Victoria waters, will build capacity for the Kenya Railways cargo unit.

It will be shipping goods from the Kisumu port to neighbouring countries of Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC.

Built at a cost of Sh2.4 billion, the ship will have a capacity of 1,800 tones and will also compliment MV Uhuru I built in 1966.

This is as Kenya positions itself to tap into the potential of lake transport and blue economy.

According to the Kenya Shipyard Limited, assembling the ship locally has saved the Kenyan taxpayers Sh1.3 billion, an amount that would have been used for imports.

During his December visit to the lakeside city, Uhuru said shipbuilding will help unlock the country's immense potential in the ocean and blue economy.

"The key sub-sectors of the blue economy, which include maritime transport and logistics, fisheries, as well as shipbuilding and repair, represent low-hanging fruits that must be exploited,” he said. 

The President's visit has generated a lot of excitement amongst residents, because of his support for Azimio Raila Odinga's presidential bid.

Uhuru, who is the chairman of the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition, is expected to drum up support for Raila as campaigns for the general election hit homestretch.

Kepher Otieno, a businessman, said they are happy that Uhuru has revived the old railway transport services.

"He revived the Kisumu Port, built market sheds and constructed a number of major roads which will create wealth and employment opportunities as well as enhancing transportation," he said.

Otieno said they further expect the President to launch other pending projects in Nyanza to spur development.

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