What you need to know
- By Monday morning, a police pick-up truck was parked in the middle of the road that leads to Dr Besigye’s home.
- Journalists too were denied access to his residence.
A truck is loaded at the Naivasha Inland Container Depot in January. Politicians from Mombasa and Nakuru counties have differed over the declaration by DP Ruto that he will reverse directives that have seen port activities transferred to the Naivasha dry port.
Leaders from Mombasa have been supporting the return of port operations as their Nakuru counterparts push for more investment in the Naivasha Inland Container Depot (ICD).
United Democratic Alliance (UDA) leaders led by former Senator Hassan Omar have accused President Uhuru Kenyatta and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga of the depressing Coastal economy by moving port activities to Nairobi and Naivasha.
Mr Omar and his troops, including Nyali MP Mohammed Ali, said Mr Odinga, President Kenyatta, Governor Hassan Joho and Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir have no intention of addressing the port issue since they are beneficiaries.
The Jubilee administration, in 2019, issued a directive for all cargo haulage from the Mombasa Port to be strictly via the standard gauge railway (SGR), which killed several businesses in Mombasa.
Mr Omar and Mr Ali said the Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition leaders have no proper plan terming it “hot air”. The former senator said they plan to publish details of the SGR contract between the Kenyan and Chinese governments, saying such contracts ought not to be secretive.
“Deputy President William Ruto has an agreement with Coast MPs that if he wins the presidency, he will within the first three months issue an executive order to return ports services to Mombasa,” said Mr Omar in an earlier interview.
DP William Ruto vows to reverse SGR decisions that have 'impoverished' coastal people
Yesterday, Mombasa lobby Fast Action Movement, led by chairman Salim Karama said any leader seeking support in the coast must commit to restore the stolen economy.
Dr Ruto, on Wednesday promised to reverse a decree by President Kenyatta on the SGR that operationalised the Naivasha dry port. He said the administrative decisions that relocated core functions of the Port of Mombasa to the ICDs in Nairobi and Naivasha crippled the coast economy as clearing and forwarding agencies and truckers relocated.
The DP’s remarks sparked outrage from Nakuru leaders, who termed it planned economic sabotage.
Led by Governor Lee Kinyanjui and Nakuru West Member of Parliament Samuel Arama termed the remarks unfortunate and an orchestrated plan to economically marginalise the devolved unit.
“We are shocked and dismayed by utterances attributed to a section of leaders of the Kenya Kwanza team, promising that the Naivasha dry port and railway will be terminated should their coalition win.
“This statement is yet another indication of the contempt with which some national leaders hold Nakuru County,” said Mr Kinyanjui.
“Nakuru si Kenya? (Nakuru is not part of Kenya?). Instead of engaging in conversations on how to enlarge the national cake and reach everyone, we are entertaining retrogressive policies targeting certain regions for short-term political expediency. The remarks are unfortunate and retrogressive,” the governor added.
Former Industrialisation Chief Administrative Secretary Lawrence Karanja also termed the remarks unfortunate and misplaced.
“For a person who wants to become the President of Kenya, such remarks are very unfortunate and uncalled for. He should instead tell Kenyans how he intends to grow the economy in all parts of this country,” said Mr Karanja.
Mr Arama warned Dr Ruto against making remarks that can divide the country.
“Why should a presidential candidate want to marginalise other areas because of politics. His remarks are retrogressive and barbaric. We take this statement as a direct affront to the interests of Nakuru County and will confront it with all the force necessary,”said the lawmaker.
Since 2018, importers based in the capital and upcountry have been collecting their cargo from the Embakasi ICD, where it is delivered by rail from the port.
Last year, the government launched direct SGR cargo freight from Mombasa to the ICD in Naivasha, a move aimed at speeding up movement of goods. Cargo destined for neighbouring countries is now transported by the SGR from Mombasa to Naivasha, where transporters pick them for onward delivery.
On Wednesday Dr Ruto and his lieutenants termed the Naivasha dry port a private entity, constructed on a private farm and with little economic value to the country.
“It was never the intention of the government of Kenya to build the SGR to impoverish the coast. It was meant to make the port much more efficient, better and improve fortunes of the people at the coast. Unfortunately, a few people took it (SGR) hostage and ended up with programmes that benefit a few people to the detriment of the coast people,” said the DP.
The dry ports have eliminated the high cost linked to delays at the Mombasa Port and created a sense of ownership among landlocked states, which have been given spaces at the ports.
In 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta, officially launched Phase 2A of the SSGR from Nairobi to Naivasha. The line was an extension of the Sh327 billion Chinese-funded SGR from Mombasa to Nairobi.
The Sh150 billion line has four passenger stations – Ongata Rongai, Ngong, Mai Mahiu and Suswa – and one inter-change station at Nachu. It cuts through Nairobi, Kajiado, Narok and Nakuru.
Cutting across a number of notable landmark features, including Ngong Hills, the Nairobi National Park and the Great Rift Valley, the meandering railway has put Maai Mahiu town on the global map.
The SGR opened room for investment opportunities as firms seek to reap from the economic zone.
The government has invested Sh6.5 billion in the ICD, including a seven-kilometre link to the Mai Mahiu-Narok road, internet and electricity connections, a business block, perimeter wall and floodlights.
Land for the planned Naivasha Industrial Park has been designated as part of the Special Economic Zone in Naivasha.
Security operatives yesterday blocked journalists and some Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party leaders from accessing the residence of Col (Rtd) Dr Kizza Besigye in Kasangati Town Council, Wakiso district.
The FDC team comprising Mr Wafula Oguttu, Mr Wycliffe Bakandonda and Ms Virginia Plan Mugyenyi had taken some foodstuffs to Dr Besigye, who now heads the People’s Front for Transition political pressure group.
The team negotiated with security deployed at the home to be let in in vain. They later left with their foodstuffs that included bunches of matooke and chicken.
Dr Besigye, a four-time presidential contender and President Museveni’s former personal doctor, has been under house arrest since last Thursday following his attempt to walk to Kampala City in protest against high commodity prices and what he described as succession of power.
The FDC deputy secretary general, Mr Harold Kaija, confirmed that their party members had been denied access to Dr Besigye’s home.
“On Saturday, our party spokesperson, Mr Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda, was also denied access...,” Mr Kaija said.
ALSO READ: Besigye’s 20-year tenure in Opposition
This publication has also learnt that a group of key politicians cancelled their planned visit to Dr Besigye after discovering that they would not be allowed to access the home.
“We were expecting leaders from political parties such as Conservative Party, Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) People’s Progressive Party (PPP), Democratic Party (DP) and Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) led by Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago but they had to postpone the visit because they are not allowing anyone to come here,” Mr Ronald Muhinda, one of Dr Besigye’s aides, said.
He added:” Nobody has seen him since last Thursday when he was put under house arrest. The security officers are not allowing anybody to visit him except his family members.”
Journalists too were denied access to his residence. By Monday morning, a police pick-up truck was parked in the middle of the road that leads to Dr Besigye’s home.
“We are not allowing people inside. There are things we are doing inside there. You cannot go beyond this point. You can now go back. You have seen how the situation is,” a police officer told us.
When contacted, Kampala Metropolitan Police deputy spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire said: “Let me consult and get back to you.” However, our efforts to reach him again were futile as he could neither answer the telephone calls nor respond to WhatsApp messages. By Jane Nafula, Daily Momitor
Rwanda-Burundi relations will improve when 2015 coup plotters, said to be hiding in Kigali, are handed over Gitega to face justice, said Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye.
Speaking last Tuesday at State House in Bujumbura, President Ndayishimiye said Burundi is already in talks with Rwandan authorities to normalise relations between the two countries that deteriorated seven years ago.
“We have had a lot of dialogue with Rwanda. They are our neighbours and they will always be our neighbours,” said President Ndayishimiye.
“What we know is that Burundians and Rwandans do not hate each other … I see a lot of Rwandans over the weekend in Bujumbura and some getting married to Burundians,” said the president.
The two countries have had sour relations for the past seven years, with Burundi closing its borders with Rwanda and banning the exportation of fruits and vegetables to Kigali from 2016.
However, since President Ndayishimiye took over power in 2020, relations between the two countries improved significantly.
High level delegations from the two countries, including intelligence chiefs, governors and other senior government officials, have met several times in efforts to normalise relations.
“When there is a dispute and both countries send envoys and we talk, it’s a great achievement and I hope we will continue doing so. One day, you will see Rwanda handing them over and it will be the end of the problem,” said the president.
In July last year, Rwanda’s Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente visited Bujumbura for the Independence Day celebrations. This was the first time a high profile official from Rwanda had travelled to Burundi since the political crisis erupted in 2015.
Last year, Burundi said that positive steps had been taken towards strengthening peace and security in the region. Burundi helped Rwanda when terrorists who were planning to attack Kigali were arrested and handed over to Rwanda twice.
Rwanda reciprocated in July last year by handing over 19 armed men who had conducted an attack in Burundi and fled to Rwanda. - MOSES HAVYARIMANA, The East African
DAR ES SALAAM, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Tanzania's traffic police said on Sunday about 18,410 drivers were arrested in less than two months for speeding and drunk driving in different parts of the East African nation.
Wilbroad Mutafungwa, the Tanzania traffic police commander, said the drivers were arrested for committing the traffic offenses in a countrywide special crackdown that was conducted between April 1 and May 10.
"Over speeding and drunk driving are two major sources of road accidents that are reported on our roads almost daily," Mutafungwa told a press in Geita region.
He said 17,916 drivers were arrested for over speeding offenses and 494 drivers were arrested for drunk driving.
During the crackdown, said Mutafungwa, 128,014 vehicles were inspected by traffic police out of which 48,889 vehicles were found to be defective.
He said about 38,276 motorcyclists countrywide were also found violating traffic rules during the crackdown, including riding more than one passenger and not wearing protective helmets. - Xinhua
The facility in Kakuma, Kenya, was set up by the charity Kids Operating Room (KidsOR), which delivered and installed more than 3,000 items of equipment and surgical tools to provide safe surgery at the site.
It has been in use for nearly a year and is expected to have capacity for operations on up to 1,000 children annually, providing life-saving treatments that were previously unavailable in Kakuma due to the lack of necessary surgical equipment and paediatric surgeons. The camp, which has a bigger population than Dundee, is home to around 40,000 children, KidsOR said.
Dr Neema Kaseje, paediatric surgeon and KidsOR advisory member, has been training a surgical team in Kenya to maximise use of the operating room (OR), while leading the procedures that have taken place so far.
She said: "It's hard for most of us to imagine living in a refugee camp setting, let alone the thought of our child not being able to access the surgery that could save their life or alleviate them from terrible pain.
"I am looking forward to finally commemorating the opening of this crucial facility and I am honoured to be able to play a part in these life-changing operations and the social and economic benefits the installation has brought to the area."
Jibril Hussein Imidi, 10, was one of the first patients to receive surgery from the doctor and her surgical team, having suffered from a debilitating and painful hernia since birth.
Jibril's condition was left untreated, causing him severe stomach pain and digestion issues.
After the 40-minute removal surgery finally took place, his mother, Aziza said: "We had so many challenges before he was operated on. We could not go a week without him falling sick.
"The operating room provided Jibril with the operation that he so desperately needed. The surgery has helped so much. He is now back at school and doing so well."
Plans for the opening ceremony at Kakuma General Hospital in the camp had previously been put on hold due to pandemic restrictions and repeated local terrorist warnings. By Lucinda Cameron, Edinburgh Evening News
KidsOR representatives will join surgical teams, key figures from the UN Refugee Agency and the International Rescue Committee at the ceremony on Friday.
Edinburgh-headquartered KidsOR was founded by husband-and-wife philanthropists Garreth and Nicola Wood.
Mr Wood said: "The new safe surgical facilities, equipment and trained medical staff in Kakuma have already had a substantial effect and we are looking forward to finally recognising this achievement.
"Thousands of children can now access timely surgical care in Kakuma Refugee camp and this is something that should be celebrated.
"It will be rewarding for many of those involved in this milestone project to officially mark the occasion, especially after the long delays and understandable postponements of the event over the last year.
"This is only the start and we will strive to continue progressing this vital requirement not only throughout Africa but other developing countries."
Kakuma was originally founded in 1992 for people fleeing war in Sudan and has a population of around 185,000 people, according to UN data.