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Raila’s 3Billion Kisumu Port Handshake Project Launch Cancelled



Raila Odinga was planning to host four head of States in his handshake project on the planned opening Event of the refurbished Kisumu Port that was yesterday abruptly cancelled with barely a day to the launch set date.

According to the events schedule, President Uhuru Kenyatta expected to lead five other East African presidents in launching the operationalisation of the port, which has been under renovation for the past eight months at a cost of Sh3 billion but, a press conference called by the port launch committee chaired by Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o failed to take place.

State House said it had received communication from the committee on the postponement, but could not provide reasons for the decision.

“The event was being organised by the port launch committee and they informed us that the event had been postponed. It was not a State House event. It could be because the President has been out of the country and they wanted to give him time to plan his diary,” said State House spokesperson Kanze Dena.

The launch team comprises representatives from the national and county governments, Kenya Airports Authority, Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Railways Corporation, Kenya Rural Roads Authority, Kenya Urban Roads Authority, city management, as well as security organs.

Sources speaking to the media have stated that the biggest event, was supposed to be Raila’s political boost was postponed due to delays in completing works at the port. The confusion was heightened by social media users who claimed there were plans to disrupt today’s event due to the ongoing demolitions of nearly 3,000 small and medium businesses.

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Committee Secretary Aloice Ager told local press that members needed to consult further before a final statement was issued to the press. Mr Ager, however, declined to comment on allegations that the event had been postponed.

“I am not the one to talk about that. Let the team consult and we will call you back to give you clear information about the event.” Ager said

The Regional Commissioner James Kianda, who was also part of the organising committee, was available on phone to comment.

“We will update at the appropriate time,” Mr Kianda responded to a text message following an enquiry about the event.
The event was cancelled even as details from a committee meeting held on Tuesday showed that plans for the launch were complete.

The Event’s venue had already been identified and arrangements made for heightened security. Tight security was also expected within and around the airport, with access to the airside area restricted.

With the main event scheduled for the port premises, the public was to follow the event from Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground where a big screen was to be installed for spectators to follow the function. The meeting proposed a public rally to be addressed by the guests at Mamboleo showground after the function.

Other Heads of State who were expected at the event include Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), John Magufuli (Tanzania), Felix Tshisekedi (Democratic Republic of Congo), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Salva Kiir (South Sudan) and Pierre Nkurunziza (Burundi).

Mr Nzioka Waita, the Chief of Staff in the Office of the President did not give reasons for the postponement.

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“Please engage the Transport ministry on this matter,” Mr Waita said.

“What we have gathered is that most works had been completed but the fixed diaries of other EAC presidents may have occasioned the postponement because the President and his ‘brother’ really need them to attend the event,” the source told local media.

According to other officials who attended a series of meetings led by Mr Kianda stated that a few areas had not been finalised, which occasioned the postponement.

“For instance, the fencing of the port area has not been done, which is a requirement … there is also a need for clearance of the port area. Portland must be reclaimed and fenced off. As we speak, NYS are in overdrive, working 24 hours a day. The outer perimeter fencing is being done and the Kenya Railways must also complete the preparation of the lines within the port area and the line leading to the Kenya Pipeline Company,” the source confided to local media said.

Other verifiable information states that the PDU will be conducting a final inspection tour today at around 9 am.


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