Stalled projects top Busia residents agenda for Ruto Sunday tour

The President will be in Busia for an interdenominational prayer session

In Summary
  • It will be the first visit by the head of State to the border county since he took over presidency from Uhuru Kenyatta.
  • During his last campaign rally on July 29, ahead of last year's polls Ruto said he would not abandon Busia people if he became President.
Ruto speaking at Busia Stadium on July 29, 2022 ahead of the August 2022 polls. At the time he was deputy president.
BUSIA TOUR: Ruto speaking at Busia Stadium on July 29, 2022 ahead of the August 2022 polls. At the time he was deputy president.
Image: File

President William Ruto will be in Busia on Sunday.

It will be the first visit by the head of State to the border county since he succeeded former President Uhuru Kenyatta in September last year.

Governor Paul Otuoma on Thursday confirmed the president’s visit calling on residents to turn up in large numbers to welcome Ruto.

The governor held a meeting with the county security committee and religious leaders to prepare for the President’s visit.

At a roundtable meeting with journalists, the county chief said the president will primarily be visiting the county to attend an interdenominational prayer session with the clergy at Busia stadium.

He, however, said the county leadership will capitalise on the opportunity to present some key projects they will ask the national government to complete in partnership with the county.

Among the projects is the conversion of the Busia One Stop Border Post-Korinda road into a dual carriageway. The project to be undertaken by the Kenya National Highways Authority has stalled for more than a decade.

In February, Road chief executive Andrew Meso said completion of the investment will improve transport particularly cargo movement which is occasionally hampered because of the poor state of the infrastructure.

Also, on the list is the establishment of an export processing zone at Nasewa at a cost of Sh1 billion, an investment projected to create at least 5,000 jobs, as well as the improvement of education infrastructure with the county with the aim of enhancing educational standards.

Besides, the governor will share with the head of state prospects involving the construction of an international stadium in Nasewa on a 50 acres piece of land already acquired by the county and the construction of aggregated industrial parks at Nasewa.

The industrial parks project will be co-funded by the national and county government where each level of government will inject Sh250 million.

The county envisages the investment will create at least 2,000 jobs for residents.

On food security, Otuoma is set to take advantage of the president’s tour to ask for the national government’s intervention in the establishment of 20,000 acres for irrigation in Bunyala as well as the reimbursement of the Kenya Urban Roads Authority projects not executed in Busia for the last 10 years.

The completion of the Sh7 billion Ang’ololo dam project in Teso North and the opening of the Muluanda border point to connect Kenya and Uganda are also expected to feature at the interdenominational meeting the president will attend at Busia stadium.

“As a county government, we are ready to partner with the national government to effectively utilise the 843-acre parcel in Nasewa which has undeniably a big potential to transform the economy of this region,” Otuoma said.

“Some of these projects will play a critical role in alleviating poverty in the county through the production of edible oil from groundnuts, simsim, soya beans, sunflower and cotton seeds. We intend to engage at least 40,000 farmers across the 35 wards.”

Above politics

Otuoma called on critics to stop politicising President Ruto’s visit.

He said some of his opponents are already claiming he intends to join the head of State’s UDA party and Kenya Kwanza alliance. The governor was elected on an ODM party ticket.

The county chief said as President, Ruto has the right to tour every part of Kenya.

He said elections were over and the President has one duty – to unite all Kenyans and initiate development projects that are beneficial to all.

The projects he listed, he said are all geared towards creating more jobs and enabling Busia residents to earn a living.

“The EPZ will attract foreign investment and in the process, help diversify the region’s economy, create jobs, and increase foreign exchange earnings,” he said.

Some of the residents the Star spoke to said they were prepared to welcome the head of State.

Leonard Wandera from Butula appealed to the President to tarmac the Butula-Nambale-Amukura-Machakusi road that connects four constituencies.

“We have a challenge of communication through the road. This is a major road that has been neglected since independence,” he said.

A fish dealer Janet Akumu urged President Ruto to resolve Lake Victoria conflicts between Kenyan fishermen and Uganda marine officers who have constantly been harassing them yet the lake is a shared resource.

“We have lost many people in the lake over marine conflicts that have shattered livelihoods. We plead with the President to tarmac the Ruambwa-Mubwayo-Mau Mau road which will be a game changer in the region.”

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