President Ruto makes U-turn on Mombasa Port privatisation plan

President William Ruto

President William Ruto during his address at Bomas of Kenya during the UDA National Governing Council.

Photo credit: Wilfred Nyangaresi | Nation Media Group

President William Ruto has announced that his government has no intention of privatising the port of Mombasa.

His announcement comes amid protests by Coast leaders led by Mombasa Governor Abdullswamad Nassir.

Addressing United Democratic Alliance (UDA) delegates at the Bomas of Kenya, President Ruto said his government will instead seek to partner with the private sector to expand the port.

He said the plan is to make the port more efficient to serve the country's neighbours, including South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Rwanda.

"There will be no privatisation of Mombasa Port when we are in government. We will work with the private sector to expand it and ensure that it is more efficient and that it provides employment for our young people," said President Ruto.

Capacity to serve

"What we want is to expand it because it now has capacity to serve, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and DRC. The port will not be privatised. We are going to work on concessions," he added.

The government had cited lack of funds as the reason it had to backtrack on its earlier opposition to the privatisation of key infrastructure at the ports of Mombasa and Lamu.

The management of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) had announced that new operators wishing to lease the ports of Mombasa and Lamu and the Lamu Special Economic Zone would have to pay more than $700 million (about Sh103 billion).

KPA managing director William Ruto told the Nation in an earlier interview that those selected to operate the facilities on a 25-year lease will have to invest more to make them operate at maximum capacity.