The government has defended its plan to put up a dry port in Naivasha, Nakuru County, and dismissed claims by the Opposition that it is intended to sabotage the Mombasa economy.
State House Spokesman Manoah Esipisu on Sunday it was not true that Naivasha was being set up to replace Mombasa either, terming the allegations farfetched.
Mr Esipisu spoke a day after Deputy President William Ruto said the establishment of the port was a crucial component in the Jubilee government’s development agenda.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho and some leaders from the Coast have been on record opposing the plans, alleging a scheme to frustrate and “kill” the region’s economy by moving key port services to Naivasha.
Mr Joho has consistently opposed the project, which he claims does not make economic sense given that there is a sea port in Mombasa.
“Such a move will definitely create an employment crisis in the Coast region,” the Mombasa county boss has previously been quoted as saying.
However, Mr Esipisu said the arguments displayed ignorance on shipping and related trading activities.
“It is very difficult to understand how such thinking can enter anyone’s head,” Mr Esipisu told a press briefing at State House, Nakuru.
“There can’t be ships landing in Naivasha because it doesn’t have an ocean and can’t be set up in the way a sea port is set up.”
Speaking in Naivasha on Friday, Mr Ruto said the dry port would not disadvantage the Coast people as claimed.
“There is a world of difference between those who implement development projects and those who dream of starting projects. Jubilee is implementing projects,” said the DP.
Nakuru Governor Kinuthia Mbugua has also criticised Mr Joho’s opposition to the project, accusing him of politicising the project and misleading Kenyans on the subject.
Mr Joho however responded by telling his Nakuru counterpart that he does not comprehend the “complex economics” surrounding the issue.