MUNG’ARO: Jubilee has revamped development at the coast
In the last General Election, the Coast region largely voted for Raila Odinga. However, this did not deter President Uhuru Kenyatta from embracing the region an indication of his clear desire to develop the whole country, including regions that did not back his bid in 2013.
Apart from numerous development projects that the Jubilee administration has initiated in the area, President Uhuru and his deputy William Ruto made it a personal resolve to address the land question by issuing title deeds to residents enabling them to finally own their parcels of land and to get credit from financial institutions.
The land problem at the Coast is an issue that successive government had failed to tackle. Though the land problem at the Coast is historical and cannot be resolved overnight, there is no doubt that major strides have been made.
Uhuru will also be remembered for finally finding a solution to the Waitiki land dispute that finally saw squatters settled.
He has promised that his administration is focused on making sure that the squatter problem, which has not been well-addressed since independence, gets adequate attention.
“Some of those who have received their titles today are over 60 years old, meaning that they have lived without that important document for all those years. Today we are giving them as a sign of our commitment to ending the problem,” he said at Rabai on Wednesday.
The President’s decision to embrace the region has endeared him to the locals and this can be exemplified by the high turnout at his rallies even prior to the campaigning period. As a result, he is likely to turn tables on Raila’s Nasa in this year’s election.
Under Jubilee, major infrastructural projects have been completed or are on course in all the six coastal counties.
Some areas, which were previously inaccessible, now boast of modern roads easing transportation and consequently the people’s economic fortunes.
A good example is the Mariakani-Bamba Road that was virtually non-existent before Jubilee came to power. Making the journey between the two towns was a torturous affair.
It is not nothing that President Uhuru broke into song during this year’s State of the Nation address when he recomposed the famous Giriama folksong Safari ya Bamba.
“In Kilifi, the construction of the 51-kilometre Mariakani-Bamba Road means that the famous song Safari ya Bamba ni Machero… This song, honourable members needs to be recomposed to Safari ya Bamba ni Rero.
The Standard Gauge Railway is another milestone that the Jubilee government has accomplished and which promises to turn around the region’s fortunes.
Construction of Mombasa Southern Bypass Package 1 – Dongo Kundu (Miritini – Mwache), another key artery, at a cost of Sh12 billion is also nearing completion.
The Garsen-Witu-Lamu Road, which is also under construction will be a major boon for the tourism sector, a key source of income for many locals.
During his tour of the region this week, President Uhuru told journalists that his administration has delivered more development in the Coast region than any other previous regime, citing the expansion of the port of Mombasa that is aimed at making it a net exporter of goods manufactured in the country as an example.
The President said contrary to allegations made by the opposition, the Jubilee Government intends to create jobs for all Kenyans by opening up industrial parks across the country where goods are manufactured and transported to the port for export.
“So we want Mombasa to become a central point where all goods manufactured across our country arrive and are exported to the destinations in the rest of the world as opposed to Mombasa being purely a port where we just receive goods for our people to consume,” said President Uhuru.
The President indicated his designs on the region begun to crystallise when he appointed local leaders, who lost in the last General Election, to government.
They included former Cabinet ministers Noah Katana Ngala, Kazungu Kambi and Ramadhan Kajembe.
His concerted effort also saw several politicians that were allied to the Opposition defect to the ruling Jubilee Party.
They include Tana River Governor Hussein Dado, Ali Bule (Senator) and Woman rep Halima Ware, who were initially in Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Party.
Others are Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, Senator Dan Mwazo and Woman Rep Joyce Lay, MPs Gideon Mung’aro, Mustafa Iddi and deputy governors Hazel Katana and Kennedy Kamto.
The leaders would be defending their seats on a Jubilee ticket offering the party a great chance to turn tables on Opposition-allied parties in the region.
In addition, they have been mobilising votes for President Uhuru and there is no doubt that he will perform much better that in 2013.
While the development projects the Jubilee government has initiated in the region are set to work in his favour as they have eliminated the marginalization argument that Raila has been riding on, he is not taking anything for granted. In his campaign rallies, he has literally been appealing to voters to back his second term bid and this has endeared him to many.
He has also been appealing to the youth, telling them that creating jobs for them is a priority for the Jubilee Government.
Unemployment is a big problem in the region, making many youths turn to drugs. Uhuru says establishing industrial parks is the way to go.
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