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Shipping & Logistics

Uhuru's surprise Coast roads inspection jolts contractors

Chief of Defense Forces Samson Mwathethe, one of the Chinese worker at Lapsset, LAPSSET CEO Silvester Kasuku, President Uhuru Kenyatta
Left-right : Chief of Defense Forces Samson Mwathethe, one of the Chinese worker at Lapsset, LAPSSET CEO Silvester Kasuku, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Transport and Infrastructure CS James Macharia inspecting work at the Lamu Port Industrial section area on August 1, 2018. PHOTO | KALUME KAZUNGU | NMG 

President Uhuru Kenyatta’s unannounced visits to roads and other infrastructure projects at the Coast surprised contractors and is expected to hasten projects completion and ensure quality work.

Mr Kenyatta, who was accompanied by Transport Cabinet secretary James Macharia, inspected projects in Lamu, Kilifi, Tana River and Kwale counties. The president ordered most road projects to be completed within a year including the Lamu-Garsen Road which he launched during the presidential campaign last year. He also inspected the Sh2.5 trillion Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor site at Kililana.

Mr Kenyatta inspected works on the first three Lapsset berths at Kililana. The berths cost the government Sh48 billion. During his visit, President Kenyatta held a closed-door meeting with Lapsset Corridor Development Authority board members led by CEO Silvester Kasuku.

He asked them to hasten the project which he said was an economic and trade game-changer for Kenya.

Speaking to journalists later, Mr Kasuku said the president’s visit was proof of the government’s commitment to completing the Lapsset project. Construction of the first of three berths is currently 70 per cent complete and is expected to be ready by December. The other two berths will be build by mid 2020. Mr Kasuku said that the head of State had promised to ensure full funding and provision of necessary logistics to ensure the project is completed in time.

This year the government injected an additional Sh8.9 billion into Lapsset to speed up work. The project has a total of 32 berths.

“We are happy that the president has visited the Lamu Port site. He has promised more funding to complete the project on time.

“As Lapsset Development Authority we are working around the clock to ensure we deliver the project as per the time-lines,” said Mr Kasuku.

Mr Kenyatta also visited road projects in Lamu, Kilifi and Tana River counties and ordered faster completion.

The visit saw him survey the 15 kilometre Mokowe road build under the Kenya Urban Roads Authority. The 135 kilometre Lamu-Garsen Road, which is being built by the H-Young Company, starts at Mokowe.

The President met officials in charge of various projects and ordered speedy completion of the ventures.

He said construction of the Lamu-Garsen Road was crucial for travel, trade and security. “You can’t have a project of the magnitude of Lapsset and you don’t have good roads to access it. We need that road to be constructed fast for easy access to the port,” said President Kenyatta.

“It’s also high time that the Lamu to Garsen Road is constructed fast. You shouldn’t think the road is only for the benefit of the locals. It’s also crucial for the security of this place.”

CS Macharia promised to ensure speedy construction of the roads. In Kwale, the President inspected the 23km Milalani-Kilulu-Mivumoni Road.

The road was launched by Deputy President William Ruto in March. According to locals the President was impressed by the contractor’s work.

He directed the contractor to complete the road by end year. Mr Kenyatta also inspected the 15 kilometre Lunga Lunga-Vanga Road which he launched during last year’s presidential campaign.

He put the contractor on notice for not doing enough to complete the project. He later headed to Kinango Sub-County and inspected the 51 kilometre Samburu-Kinango Road and directed that it should be completed by December 2019.

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