President Ruto returns port operations to Mombasa
NAIROBI, Kenya, September 13 – President William Ruto has assured coastal residents that he will bring port operations back to Mombasa as per his campaign promise.
Port operations were handed over to Naivasha by immediate former president Uhuru Kenyatta who handed over power to Ruto on Tuesday after serving for 10 years.
“This (Tuesday) afternoon I will be giving instructions for clearance of goods and other issues related to return operations at the port of Mombasa, as I have made a commitment to the Kenyans,” he said.
The new president said the move would restore thousands of jobs for residents of Mombasa County.
During the campaign period, the Head of State claimed that the transfer of port operations to Naivasha was contrary to the agreement made during the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
Ruto said the Naivasha dry port was set up for the benefit of a few individuals which has dealt a blow to Mombasa’s economy.
When Kenyatta moved operations to Naivasha, local coastal leaders and politicians accused the Jubilee government of neglecting the economic needs of Mombasa residents.
They said it was irresponsible for the government to move the port from Mombasa to Naivasha which made the locals jobless.
In December 2019, President Kenyatta signaled a freight train from Nairobi to Naivasha marking the start of operations at the Naivasha Inland Container Depot.
In March 2019, the Kenya Ports Authority issued a directive that all goods destined for Nairobi should be transported on the RMS.
There have been protests in Mombasa by shippers and transporters fearing the loss of their livelihoods. Coastal politicians say the economies of container freight stations have been hit. Initially CFS handled up to 85% of cargo docked in Mombasa, this has now dropped to around 20%.
Some CFS have had to relocate some of their operations to stay in business. Truckers and transporters have seen their livelihoods affected, especially with the reduced distance to travel if they have to travel to pick up goods in Nairobi.