Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho has hailed the Lamu Port project that currently stands at eighty three percent completion, as transformative initiative that will open the Northern Corridor’s economy.
The Interior PS made these remarks in Mokowe where he led a high level coterie of 10 principal secretaries under the auspices of the National Development Implementation Technical Committee (NDITC) on an inspection tour of national government projects in Lamu County. He revealed the aim is to ensure all government projects are completed on time.
He further divulged that the countrywide NIDTC inspection tours had revealed that at least 1,200 projects of the 1,500 national government projects had stalled and the aim was to ensure that they are brought back on track to benefit area residents.
“Of note is that the projects are mostly brick and mortar and so far, the inspection tour in Lamu reveals that despite the economic slowdown posed by COVID-19 the LAPSSET project remains on course and should be commissioned by next year for full operation,” Kibicho said.
Further he pointed out that the LAPSSET project which falls under the Vision 2030 initiative will transform Lamu into more than just a fishing and tourism outpost to logistical hub whose benefits will reverberate across the Northern Corridor as well as regionally.
He expressed optimism that although there have been challenges posed by land management issues surrounding compensation for farmers and fishermen, the issues will be resolved amicably through arbitration by the National Land Commission and the Kenya Ports Authority respectively.
He added that the national government remains in full support of the County government’s plan to implement alongside the LAPSSET project a Spatial plan in accordance with the best practices of urban planning revealing that there are design plans are underway for a Lamu Port City.
The Interior PS also drummed up support for the Building Bridges Initiative which he urged residents to read and understand as the proposals are aimed at improving the country’s socio-economic and political well-being.
“I would urge all Kenyans to approach the BBI with an open mind once the civic education exercise begins. the initiative was formulated with the aim of addressing issues affecting all Kenyans such as land, jobs and equitable division of the national cake,” he said.
Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha echoed similar concerns stating that for Lamu residents to enjoy the fruits of the Lamu Port project there is need to resolve long standing land management issues.
“Currently, as the County Government we have an Integrated County Master Plan designed with the aim of demarcating residential areas from industrial and economic investment zones. This will prevent the cropping up of informal settlements as has been the case in other big cities,” Twaha stated.
He further urged the national government to continue supporting the county government’s plans for issuance of title deeds in various areas across the Lamu mainland notably, Mokowe, Hindi, and Mpeketoni areas.
The county and national government officials later converged at Hindi for a public baraza where local leaders led by Governor called for political goodwill among all leaders in addressing perennial land issues plaguing the county.
He stated that for Lamu residents to have a first step and taste towards empowerment and economic freedom, issuance of title deeds for land owners needs to be addressed promptly.
The Lamu governor also voiced his support for the BBI stating that the proposals present a silver lining for previously marginalized areas such as Lamu that will now enjoy a larger equitable share of the national cake at 35 percent when the proposals are adopted.
By Amenya Ochieng