President Uhuru Kenyatta is at the Coast for a three-day tour to commission his legacy projects and hold meetings with local leaders.
The visit has stirred political interest given heightened campaigns in the region led by Deputy President William Ruto and ODM leader Raila Odinga.
He arrived in Mombasa Tuesday following Dr Ruto’s departure, who had camped there since Thursday and held meetings in Mombasa, Kilifi and Kwale counties. Mr Odinga landed there on Saturday and has addressed meetings in Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu.
President Kenyatta is Wednesday expected to preside over a military function at Magogoni in Lamu County. He will also meet local leaders and thereafter head to Kilifi County to commission several projects.
He will tomorrow meet leaders from the six counties in Mombasa for a briefing on the progress of his legacy projects in the region. It was not immediately clear whether the President will team up with Mr Odinga.
Last month, President Kenyatta had instructed those implementing his landmark Coast projects to ensure they are on schedule for completion before he leaves office in August next year.
Serving final term
Although it’s an official trip, it has stirred political excitement after the DP’s campaigns in the region and since it coincides with Mr Odinga’s tour. Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, however, said President Kenyatta’s visit was planned a long time ago.
“We shall meet him as the Coast Parliamentary Group on Thursday. It is a coincidence that our party leader Mr Odinga is also here,” said Mr Nassir.
The visit by President Kenyatta, Dr Ruto and Mr Odinga within a week signifies the importance of the region to 2022 succession politics.
Governors Hassan Joho (Mombasa), Amason Kingi (Kilifi) and Salim Mvurya (Kwale), who are also serving their final terms, have met President Kenyatta for talks in which he rallied them behind his political cause.
The governors have in the past wrangled over the push for the region’s political outfit, which is fiercely driven by Mr Kingi. The two governors were elected on an ODM ticket while Mr Mvurya is a Jubilee leader. At some point, Mr Mvurya was seen gravitating towards Dr Ruto’s camp.
While unveiling the Sh10 billion five-year Marine Fisheries and Socio-Economic Development Project, President Kenyatta had promised to meet local leaders to address their grievances.
Since 2013, the Uhuru administration has been implementing projects at the Coast worth Sh1.3 trillion. In Mombasa, the government has spent more than Sh240 billion and has earmarked another close to Sh80 billion in the 2021/2022 financial year.
Most of the projects in Mombasa traverse the neighbouring counties of Kilifi and Kwale. Already, sections of the Mombasa Transport Master Plan Road project, including the 11-kilometer Dongo Kundu Phase 1, Mombasa-Jomvu and Likoni pedestrian bridge, are complete.
Phases 2 and 3 in Dongo Kungu the Makupa Causeway bridge are set to be completed early next year. The Mombasa southern bypass, which is now key to the Moi International Airport, standard gauge railway and Mombasa port users, has eased traffic.
It has reduced the turnaround time for trucks that had to contend with the perennial traffic jam along the old Kipevu Road.
Once the Dongo Kundu project is completed, it will serve as an alternative route to South Coast from Mombasa mainland without crossing the Likoni channel. The government allocated Sh8.5 billion for the Mombasa Economic Zone at Dongo Kundu.