Jubilee leaders tell off Raila over Naivasha port comments

Jubilee leaders tell off Raila over Naivasha port comments
FILE PHOTO: The UhuRuto Express team during a past campaign.

A section of leaders allied to Jubilee Party under the umbrella body UhuRuto Express have slammed the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) leader Raila Odinga over what they term as “spreading false, malicious and far-fetched” information about the Naivasha dry port project.

Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho and several other opposition leaders have on numerous occasions accused the Jubilee administration of trying to choke the Coast region economy by transferring all the port services from Mombasa to Naivasha.

Led by MPs John Kihagi (Naivasha), Mary Wambui (Othaya), Kamande Wambuku, (Maragua), Njogu Barua (Gichugu), and Nakuru Women Rep. Mary Njoki, the Jubilee leaders have now played down the allegations, saying that NASA lacks a development agenda and is spreading propaganda to woo voters.

According to the leaders, the planned Naivasha Inland Port will speed-up the flow of cargo between ships and major land transportation networks and in return improving the movement of imports and exports by cutting down time taken load and offload cargo in the congested sea port.

“The fact is that Mombasa Port activities are not being transferred to Naivasha since the region does not border the Indian Ocean. Just like the inland container depots in Embakasi, Kisumu and Eldoret, the Naivasha facility will provide much needed storage of cargo especially those destined for Uganda, South Sudan, Northern Tanzania, Rwanda Burundi and DRC therefore relieving the Mombasa Port of congestion, create more space for handling cargo and improve efficiency,” read a statement sent to the Citizen Digital from the UhuRuto Express Team.

Nevertheless, Odinga during a campaign rally in Kwale County on Saturday, July 8, argued that the Naivasha inland port project is “an economic sabotage of the Coast Region.”

“This SGR will kill the Port of Mombasa because all the cargoes being docked at the port will directly be transported to Naivasha by rail and render the coastal people working at the harbor jobless. Services like clearing and forwarding will now be done in Naivasha,” said Mr. Odinga.

The UhuRuto Express, however, maintained that improving the efficiency of the Mombasa Port by establishing an inland port in Naivasha will increase productivity, strategically giving the facility an edge over the vibrant Dar-es-Salaam sea port.

“A dry port in Naivasha will thus increase productivity at Mombasa Port because larger container ships would dock without fear of prevalent demurrage charges accruing due to port inefficiency.

Traffic congestion, road accidents, and road maintenance costs on both our national trunk roads and highways would decrease drastically because one train has capacity to substitute 35 trucks,” read the statement.

The leaders were talking in Kirinyaga County on Sunday, July 9.

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