Uhuru reopens Webuye Rai Paper during Western tour

President Uhuru Kenyatta, officials and guests tour Rai Paper Paper Mills in Webuye following its reopening, December 15, 2016. /PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta, officials and guests tour Rai Paper Paper Mills in Webuye following its reopening, December 15, 2016. /PSCU

President Uhuru Kenyatta officially reopened Rai Paper Mills in Webuye at the start of his two-day tour of Western on Thursday.

The factory that had been under receivership for more than 10 years will now be managed by , which signed a Sh900 million

sale and purchase agreement with the receiver managers.

“Pan Paper Mills produced their first paper in 10 years a few days ago. The reopening will bring hundreds of jobs back to Webuye Town,” said State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu.

President Uhuru Kenyatta at the reopening of Rai Pan Paper Mills in Webuye, December 15, 2016. /PSCU

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The closure of the factory and the dwindling fortunes in the sugar sector dealt Western Kenya's economy a major blow and saw leaders point fingers at each other over who was responsible.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta, Deputy President William Ruto and Water CS Eugene Wamalwa at the reopening of Rai Pan Paper Mills in Webuye, December 15, 2016. /PSCU

The President, who arrived at Mt Elgon shortly after 11am, will also launch and commission projects on manufacturing, water, health and roads, and take stock of

the progress Jubilee has made in terms of development since 2013.

Uhuru started his tour by issuing title deeds for the Chepyuk Settlement Scheme at the foot of Mt Elgon and commissioning the construction of Kopsiro-Kapsokony road.

The President also issued deeds at Chepyuk, Trans Nzoia county, and addressed wananchi, assuring them that his administration was keen on taking development to every corner of the country.

“My government is committed to ensuring land is distributed equitably throughout our country,” he said.

Jubilee has declared that it will win a chunk of votes from Western which largely supports Cord's ODM and Ford Kenya parties,. The party has lined up development projects amid campaigns for the August 8, 2017 general election.

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President Uhuru Kenyatta flags off the construction of Kopsori-Kapsokony road in Mount Elgon, December 15, 2016. /PSCU

Also in the President's itinerary is the launch of the Kakamega-Navakholo-Musikoma road and medical equipment at the Kakamega county hospital.

State House indicated on Friday that Uhuru will launch Ibokolo-Idangalasia-Malaa road before launching a water project in Mumias.

The water project was funded by the World Bank to a tune of Sh1.6 billion, while the national government allocated Sh1.16 billion for the Ibokolo road that connects Butere, Mumias and Lurambi constituencies.

“The Head of State will then proceed to Busia where he will launch medical equipment at the county's referral hospital after which he will launch roads in Malaba and parts of Busia,” said Esipisu.

Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali said the President's trip was in fulfillment of a promise made during the graduation ceremony at Kibabii University in Bungoma.

Washiali said they will also ask Uhuru to commit to the full revival of Mumias Sugar Company, which he described as a major concern for the people.

“We believe that when the President will be addressing his people at Mumias Muslim primary school, he will point out the plans the government has put in place towards sustainability of our only economic pillar – Mumias Sugar Company,” he said.

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Noting the water and road projects will transform lives, Washiali

urged the people to welcome the President.

“We are happy that the water will be spread over to Matawa, Mayoni and other far off parts of the region. It will end our woes in the hunt for clean water for domestic use and for our animals,” he said.