President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga yesterday made an impromptu visit to the Kisumu Port to assess its progress.
Phase one of its rehabilitation, which commenced in February 2019 was completed in December.
Prolonged delay in its commissioning had caused anxiety amongst residents and leaders.
On his Facebook account, Raila said he was impressed by the progress of development in Kisumu.
“I am impressed by the progress of development in Kisumu that we saw while on an inspection tour of the county with President Uhuru Kenyatta. The lakeside city is undergoing a welcome gradual transformation,” the message.
President Uhuru visited the port in the afternoon and held a meeting with Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Railways senior officials.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, Kisumu County Commissioner Josephine Ouko, Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o and his deputy Mathews Owili attended the meeting. A reliable source who sought anonymity told People Daily that the President resolved to commission the port and other State projects in April.
The source said: “He has given an order that everything should be ready by mid-February as they plan to officially open them in April”.
The President also ordered for the completion of the new Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium, Uhuru market and the construction of a new railway terminus behind Kisumu breweries.
Modern Uhuru market is set to accommodate thousands of traders from the famous Lwangi Beach, Akamba Lane and winmatt who were evicted to pave way for the expansion of the port.
Tarmacking of the Mamboleo-Miwani road is also among the list of the projects the President gave an order for completion.
President Uhuru also inspected the construction of the new Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium, the venue where the Africities summit is expected to be held in November.
“He ordered the contractor to erect a permitted wall and add five more shades. He wants the work completed before April,” the source said.
Projects are considered as the fruits of the Handshake between the President and ODM Raila.
Projects are expected to open business opportunities and transform the lakeside city into a regional economic hub in Western Kenya and the larger East Africa.
Several political leaders, led by Kisumu West MP Olago Aluoch had earlier questioned its viability referring to it as another “white elephant project.”
In 2019, five East African community Heads of State; among them Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Felix Tshikedi (DRC), John Magufuli (Tanzania), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Salva Kiir (South Sudan) and the late Pierre Nkurunziza (Burundi) were expected to join President Uhuru in the official launch.
The launch was later postponed after it emerged that the diaries of the Heads of State clashed.