MOMBASA, Kenya, Jan 18 – The government will tarmac the 80 km stretch from Witu to Mokowe before the Sh273 billion construction of the proposed second port in Lamu begins.
Transport Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere said on Sunday that the road links Lamu Island to the rest of the country through the Mokowe jetty.
“Without a proper road to Lamu, the proposed port will not operate efficiently,” said the Minister, speaking at the Lamu Port stakeholders\’ forum at the town’s main Fort.
Mr Mwakwere assured Lamu residents that their issues of compensation would be met before the start of the project, which he promised, would empower them economically.
"It will turn around the economy of the island and create employment for the youth in the district," the Minister offered, adding: "The proposed Lamu Port will be among the internationally ranked ports."
Mr Mwakwere revealed that the government would also put up an international airport and oil refinery in the area, which he assured would not damage or interfere with any of the heritage sites in the area.
He said the Lamu Port would be able to handle and discharge eight big vessels at once.
The Minister said the government would advertise the project internationally as they were optimistic several countries would be willing to invest in the project.
Also present at the forum, Northern Kenya Development Minister Ibrahim Mohammed urged residents of Lamu to support the project as one of the measures to address and tackle the poverty-related problems in Coast, Eastern and North Eastern provinces.
But nominated Member of Parliament Shakila Abdalla sounded a warning, saying the government must ensure about 60,000 people facing displacement with the construction of the project are issued with title deeds before construction begins.
Those at the forum included Assistants Ministers John Mwau (Transport), Gonzi Rai (Lands), and Dickson Wathika (Public Works), Coast Provincial Commissioner Ernest Munyi, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Managing Director James Mulewa, KPA Board Chairman Shukri Baramadi and Kenya Maritime Authority Director General Nancy Karigithu.