President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday made impromptu visits to Kisumu Port and Mbita Causeway in Homa Bay County.
In Homa Bay, the President called on Kenyans to maintain peace during the electioneering period saying it was necessary for the country’s stability.
The President who inspected the shipyard at the Kisumu Port and dredging works at Mbita Causeway, said peaceful coexistence will enable his government to fulfill the pledges he made to Kenyans.
"Let us be united as we get to the other side of the journey (post-election). I will visit you soon while accompanied by other leaders including baba (ODM leader Raila Odinga),” he said.
The President arrived at the Kisumu Port in three military choppers at 2:30pm and inspected the shipping yard and construction of the new ship (MV Uhuru II) before leaving for Homa Bay County.
Mbita Causeway Bridge
This was the first time the Head of State has visited Homa Bay County after his reelection in 2017. He previously visited the county in June 2017 when he was seeking reelection.
During his previous visit, President Kenyatta commissioned the Sh1.5 billion Mbita Causeway Bridge that connects Mbita town and Rusinga Island.
The bridge has been designed to allow free flow of water in Lake Victoria. He said that bridge has enabled fishermen to get more fish.
“There is no need for fishermen to work very hard to get fish. That is why my government built this bridge," President Kenyatta said on Wednesday.
He said that the project had helped reduce poverty by increasing fish supply. The government in January 2021 launched dredging of Lake Victoria, covering a stretch of 61.3 kilometers starting from Kisumu pier to Mbita to revive maritime trade and open up the lake to other activities.
The MV Uhuru II that is currently under construction at Kisumu Port is expected to transport more products across Lake Victoria to other East African countries.
Keel laying ceremony
During his tour last year, the Head of State performed a keel laying ceremony, setting the stage for the building of a wagon ferry christened MV-Uhuru II.
During his Wednesday tour of Kisumu Port which was rehabilitated to a tune of Sh3 billion, the President toured the shipyard and later addressed NYS personnel at the Railway Training Institute Marine School.
Mr Kenyatta's visit comes at a time when there are heightened activities at the facility with MV Uhuru making voyages ferrying fuel products from Kisumu to Jinja and Port Bell in Uganda. The ship yard is a Kenya government owned ship building and repair facility.
Phase one of the Kisumu shipyard has been completed with the construction of an office block. Phase two encompasses the renovation of the dry dock and reconstruction of the rail wagon slipway. The yard will be run by the Kenya Navy in partnership with Damen Civil Works Company, a ship building firm.
Mr Kenyatta said to transport fuel by road from Kisumu to Uganda takes 72 hours because of the long queues at the Malaba border. But to transport fuel from the Port of Kisumu to Port Bell in Uganda by ship takes only 12 hours.
One tanker carries 20,000 litres of fuel; but one wagon aboard MV Uhuru carries 60,000 litres.
Together with the revival of the Port of Kisumu, revamping the railway line is meant to enhance connectivity with the neighbouring countries that rely on Kenya for the transportation of their imports and exports.
By December, the president indicated that MV Uhuru had transported over 80 million litres of fuel across Lake Victoria to Uganda.
Kenya Defense Forces, in partnership with Kenya Railways Corporation, revamped the 217km Nairobi-Kisumu railway.
Last week, Kenya Railway Corporation successfully run the first trial train with cargo from Mombasa which arrived via the SGR line and was transshipped onto the Metre Gauge Railway line for onward transportation to Malaba.
The transshipment took place at Naivasha Inland Container Depot.