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Uhuru Kenyatta to launch projects in Coast

President Uhuru Kenyatta Thursday starts his four-day tour of Coast counties where he will commission various projects.

A communication from State House said the Head of State will launch the tarmacking of the 135-kilometre Garsen-Witu-Lamu road in Witu at 10am.

He will later address a public rally at the trading centre.

From Lamu President Kenyatta is slated to inspect the building of Sala Gate road in Malindi, Kilifi County.

He will commission medical equipment at Malindi Hospital and later address a public rally in Malindi Town.

The President is expected in Mombasa and Kwale from Friday to Sunday.

TIGHT SECURITY

Security has been beefed up in Lamu ahead of President Kenyatta’s visit to the border county that is prone to Al-Shabaab attacks.

The Garsen-Witu-Lamu road, which is the main entry point to Lamu, has been in a dilapidated state since independence.

The Sh10.4 billion tender for the construction of the road was awarded to a Chinese firm, Wu Yi Construction Company, in mid-2016.

Speaking to the Nation in Lamu on Wednesday, Deputy County Commissioner Stephen Sangolo said all was set for the President’s visit.

“We are ready to receive the President. People here are anxious to see the road construction launched. We have ensured adequate security for the event. We expect the President to arrive at Witu between 9am and 10am,” said Mr Sangolo.

DROUGHT

The President’s visit comes at a time when Lamu County is adversely affected by ravaging drought.

It is estimated that at least 50,000 households and more than 300,000 cattle are currently in dire need of food and water.

The drought has not spared wildlife, including hippos, which are dying due to lack of water as rivers continue drying.

There is also hope that the President might state his stand on the controversial Sh200 billion coal power plant project that continues to receive mixed support from leaders and locals.

“I am looking forward to the President to shed some light on the coal plant project. I am aware that the Energy Regulatory Commission has approved the project despite some of us still having questions about the project which is not safe for our people,” said Lamu Woman Representative Shakila Abdalla.

SCHOLARSHIPS

The President is also expected to speak about the Presidential Lapsset scholarship programme which was launched by former President Mwai Kibaki in 2012 where 1,000 youth from Lamu were to be trained in port-related matters to enable them get jobs once the port is complete.

The scholarship programme seems to have stalled with only 400 youth having been hand-picked for training in 2014 and 2015.

With just five months remaining to the August 8 elections, the President’s visit is also expected to help shape the county’s politics.

Lamu is the smallest county in terms of population with only two constituencies.

It had about 110,000 people according to 2009 census.

While the county’s governor was elected on a UDF ticket, the senator sailed through on a Jubilee coalition ticket.

Other parties also shared the other seats.

MPEKETONI

A spot check by the Nation at Mpeketoni, which faced frequent Al-Shabaab attacks leading to a major security operation that is still ongoing, indicated that businesses had returned to normal.

Some of the buildings that were destroyed by the militia have been re-built.

Night life is booming with restaurants, bars and boda boda riders making a kill.

Locals who talked to the Nation said their only fear are the marauding buffaloes which roam the town especially at night.

President Kenyatta’s visit comes at a time when the Jubilee Party is fighting to eat into Nasa’s support in the Coast.

The region is perceived as an opposition stronghold having voted mainly for ODM in the 2013 polls.

Uhuru to commission projects as he starts four-day Coast tour

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