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Motorists disembark from MV Kilindini Ferry at the mainland side of the Likoni Channel crossing. Nation Media Group


As major roads and bypasses in Mombasa and its environs are nearing completion, the future of the Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) is looking bleak as it will lose millions of shillings it collects from hundreds of motorists using ferries daily. 

The Dongo Kundu bypass will allow motorists to avoid the Likoni ferry crossing, saving them money and time.  The KFS is expected to start losing money next year when the multibillion-shilling bypass connecting Mombasa and Kwale counties is completed.

The 17km highway, also known as the Mombasa Southern Bypass, connects motorists from the western Mombasa mainland to the southern section without having to enter the island or crossing the Likoni channel. It is expected to ease movement of goods and services and boost the economy of the Coast region. 

More than 6,000 vehicles and over 300,000 pedestrians use the Likoni channel daily. Motorists pay between Sh120 and Sh12,000. To curb corruption, the KFS introduced payments via mobile phone in 2020.

The KFS collects more than Sh21 million annually from motorists. Most goods imported from Tanzania, especially timber and foodstuffs, pass through the channel, but once the bypass is completed transporters are expected to start using the new road network.

The Dongo Kundu bypass will also come as a relief to tourists heading from Moi International Airport, as they will be able to avoid delays at the Likoni channel.

The bypass will also allow efficient and easy access to and from Mombasa because motorists will want to avoid city centre traffic.

The mega infrastructure project, under the Mombasa Port Area Road Development, is a game changer for North and South Coast counties.

Besides the development of new trading centres along the corridor, the projects will also revitalise tourism on the South Coast, where visitors are expected to spend less than 25 minutes on the road between Diani and Moi International Airport and the Mombasa SGR rail terminus. 

It is also expected to improve the movement of goods between Tanzania and Kenya, especially with the establishment of the Dongo Kundu economic zone.

Mombasa Port Area Road Development projects include the Sh11.5 billion Miritini-Mwache-Kipevu link road, which is complete.

The Sh24.2 billion Mwache-Tsunza-Mteza road will connect Mombasa and Kwale counties.

The road will be interlinked with three bridges – the 1.4km Mteza, the longest in East and Central Africa, Mwache and Tsunza.

The road starts at the Mwache interchange and terminates at Dongo Kundu, in the Mwangala area, on the southern mainland of Mombasa County.

“It is important, particularly for Diani, which has been an award-winning beach,” said Dr Sam Ikwaye, the executive officer of the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers (KAHC). 

“It’s also significant for trade. Trade precedes tourism, so the highway will boost the sectors and potential of the South Coast and South of Mombasa which will be intense and significant for this region.”

Kwale, he said, will become the region’s second business hub because connectivity will be easier.

“Roads will open up Kwale for business. The ferry has been a big headache. In the past, we have had cancellations of programmes, meetings and tourists going to the airport because of the ferry challenges while crossing, so it is timely,” he added.

Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) chairman Newton Wang’oo said Dongo Kundu will open up the South Coast.

“It will open up the South Coast easily because using the ferry was challenging and the ferry fees for trucks was a headache. But with Dongo Kundu, it will be easier to avoid town and transport goods from the two counties easily without the [problems] of the ferry in the Likoni channel,” Mr Wang’oo said. 

Dr Ikwaye urged the Kenya Ports Authority, which is in charge of the ferries, to diversify the vessels and use them for excursions to attract tourists.

“Water transport should now be utilised. Mombasa is an island, let's market it globally and regionally to attract more tourists,” he said. By Winnie Atieno, NMG

A Congolese army tank heads towards the front line against M23 in the area surrounding the North Kivu city of Goma in May 2022. Photo by Arlette Bashizi/AFP via Getty Images

Fighting between the Democratic Republic of Congo’s national army and the rebel group M23 has displaced thousands of people in the eastern border city of Goma. Formed 10 years ago, the Rwanda-backed Mouvement du 23 Mars (M23) soon made its first mark when it briefly occupied Goma, a city of 1 million today. An African-led effort resulted in a ceasefire and M23’s demobilisation – until the resumption of hostilities in 2021.

Delphin Ntanyoma sets out the four things you should know about the rebel insurgency, which threatens regional stability.

1. What is the background to M23’s insurgency in eastern DRC?

The current force is what’s left of the original M23 Movement formed in April 2012. M23 was an offspring of the National Congress for the Defence of the People, better known by its French acronym CNDP, a rebel group which fought the DRC government between 2006 and 2009. Both groups draw on a claim that the Congolese Tutsi and other ethnic communities in north and south Kivu are discriminated against. They are considered of Rwandan descent and are commonly referred to as “Rwandophones”. One of the consequences of this discrimination is the presence of tens thousands of refugees in the Africa Great Lakes region.

M23 occupied the city of Goma in eastern DRC for 10 days in 2012. The rapid rise and its links to Rwanda caused alarm and triggered international efforts for a ceasefire. After talks brokered by the Southern African Development Community, M23 ended its rebellion in 2013.


Infighting soon erupted within M23 between two groups. One wing made up of roughly 1,700 soldiers fled to Uganda. The other smaller wing of 700 fighters fled to Rwanda. Many of those fighters thereafter demobilised voluntarily or negotiated their way into the DRC’s national army.

Early in 2017, a few hundred remnants of the Uganda wing left Uganda for the DRC, where they sometimes clashed with the DRC’s national army. But there was no sign of intense recruitment until 2021 when the rebel group resumed attacks.

It is extremely hard to estimate how large the M23 group is currently. Still, this is a region that has been volatile for decades and where countless unresolved grievances simmer under the surface. There are hundreds if not thousands of young men who constitute a ready reservoir for recruitment and mobilisation.

Nonetheless, the M23’s ability to occupy and control several localities in North Kivu with its limited military force has led many experts to believe that the rebel group has received military support from Rwanda and to a lesser extent Uganda. DRC government has strongly opposed any form of peace talks with M23.

2. What territory do they seek to capture and why?

The majority of M23 rebel combatants originate from North Kivu province and specifically from Masisi and Rutshuru. These territories are close to the border of Rwanda where fighting takes place. They are extremely familiar with this terrain and might enjoy local support from inhabitants. The city of Goma is also within this vicinity.

The area of Rutshuru territory alone is approximately 5,300km², equivalent to a fifth of Rwandan territory. The region occupied by M23 borders Rwanda, Uganda, and DRC and has a huge traffic of commercial trucks carrying goods from the Kenyan port of Mombasa through Uganda to Goma and Bukavu in the DRC. Controlling the border town of Bunagana – as M23 curently does – provides an opportunity to raise additional funds through informal taxation. The region is also rich in terms of natural (forest and mineral) resources. In the past, access and control of these resources have also motivated several actors to support rebel groups.

While moving closer to the City of Goma and based on the 2012 experience, M23 may not seek to easily capture the city. The city harbours a million inhabitants, including hundreds of thousands of internally displaced. Fighting near Goma exerts pressure on the Congolese government to open dialogue. But attacking the city would increase more international pressure against rebels and Rwanda.

3. What’s behind their battlefield success against the national army?

Mathias Gillmann, spokesperson for the UN stabilisation mission in the DRChinted at their strength as recently as July 2022. He noted the M23 was militarily stronger than in the past. the M23 operates more and more like a conventional army, relying on equipment that is much more sophisticated than in the past.

Though it has not yet been independently verified, M23 is among the groups thought capable of shooting down a UN mission helicopter that crashed within their stronghold in March 2022. DRC military helicopters were also targeted in this area in 2017.

Military sources have hinted that M23 is currently able to operate around the clock, thanks to night vision devices and equipment. It also has longer-range weapons, such as mortars and machine guns. It’s likely these would have been supplied by a well organised army, which is why Rwanda security services are suspected of supporting M23.

Besides equipment, M23 is fighting a well-organised conventional war in which it has intimidated the national army. It advanced quickly from Sarabwe forest reserve to Bunagana. More recently rebels were in action within 20km of Goma City.

However, it’s also important to understand that the DRC’s national army is extremely dysfunctional, corrupt, ill-equipped and low on morale. It is well known that soldiers’ rations disappear into the hands of the generals. In many cases, soldiers can spend days without logistical support simply because senior officers and military generals are more concerned with accumulating resources even at the expense of their rank and file soldiers.

4. What happens next?

Let’s start with the context. The political agreement that ended  M23’s occupation of Goma 10 years ago was never fully implemented. Its combatants should have been integrated into the Congolese national army but were not. And the M23 political wing was to become a recognised political party but was not.

The DRC government, first under President Joseph Kabila and now President Felix Tshisekedi, opted to politically engage its main sponsor, Rwanda formally or informally. Rwanda’s involvement in the DRC dates back to 1996 when it backed the rebellion that toppled long-time ruler Mobutu Sese Seko. Its subsequent involvement through proxies such as M23 has both security and economic motivations.

Relations between Kinshasa and Kigali soured recently after Tshisekedi and Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni agreed joint military operations along their border coupled with roads construction. Neighbouring Burundi was also allowed by DRC to pursue rebels across the common border. Burundian rebels operating in DRC have received military and logistical support from Rwanda security services.

This left Rwanda looking isolated in the volatile region. By reactivating M23, President Paul Kagame’s aim was to stir the regional political landscape in which he was feeling increasingly isolated.

For its role, Rwanda has come under intense diplomatic pressure from the international community. This includes key western allies such as the US, the UK and France. Kagame has little choice but to withdraw his military, logistical and political support and get M23 to leave the large area the rebels have occupied. This has happened before. In 2009, CNDP – the precursor to M23 – was dismantled when Kigali secured a deal with Kinshasa that was advantageous to Rwanda but detrimental to the rebel group. In 2013, Kigali again was obliged to withdraw his support to M23 under international pressure.

This time around, Kagame could seek guarantees that the East African Community’s regional force won’t constitute a threat to Rwanda’s security in the same way that a joint operation of Uganda and DRC’s army in North Kivu could have been.

The cost of this to Kagame would be loss of credibility among his shrinking supporters within his Rwandan inner circle . It would also hit his support base, mainly among the Congolese Tutsi in the DRC who count on his support amid violence targeting them in North Kivu.

Rwanda will still remain somewhat isolated in the region. This is because Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and South Sudan are all allowed the East African Community and DRC specifically to send in their forces to stabilise the Eastern DRC while Rwanda is not.

Rather than back a rebel group and operate through a proxy, Rwanda could still directly intervene across the border with DRC if its security is threatened. But this option requires its security services to show tangible evidence of these threats within the country’s borders. The Conversation



LAMU, Kenya, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Kenyan security forces said Monday they were holding an al-Shabab suspect who had planned to stage attacks in the coastal Lamu county.

The police said Mustafa Khalib Muhumed, a resident of Tana River County was arrested for providing sensitive information to al-Shabab to facilitate their operations in the northeastern, Tana River and Lamu counties.

"He (Khalib) had also been tasked to report on security operations in northeastern and Lamu County to facilitate al-Shabab improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and ambushes against Kenya's security personnel," the police said in a security report.

The east African nation's coastal towns are the backbone of the country's thriving tourism industry, which has been hit by the fear of terror attacks and the kidnapping of foreigners by the al-Shabab group from resorts near the border with Somalia.

According to police, at the time of his arrest, the suspect had just delivered a detailed surveillance report about a security installation for an attack. - Xinhua

Anxiety has gripped some Machakos County workers after the assembly moved to sack four members of the County Public Service Board over allegations of abuse of office.

The fate of the chairman of the staffing body, Kioko Luka, secretary Onesmus Muia and members Cecilia Mbinya and Stella Nduku now lies in the hands of the governor afterward representatives endorsed a motion to remove them from office. 

“They have been unable to advise the county assembly on the size of the county workforce every year as required by law to guide the budgeting process,” assembly Deputy Speaker and Ekalakala/Ikaatini MCA Stephen Nzue told reporters on Tuesday.

“We have formed a select committee which has 10 days to probe the board members and others and report back to the assembly, which will hand the report to the governor to appropriate action.” 

Mr Luka refused to be drawn into commenting on the issues raised by ward representatives. But he acknowledged that the five-member board had been rocked by cracks as he expressed optimism that an amicable solution will be found.

“I don't want to comment on the matter because we are currently in talks with the governor's people. We are keen on ensuring that peace prevails in Machakos. I don't want to be held responsible for the collapse of the ongoing talks,” he told the Nation

The board, which hired county staff, has been thrown into a spin after Governor Wavinya Ndeti moved to streamline the county workforce. She has vowed to sack dozens of civil servants said to have been hired irregularly by the previous administration. 

In an October 31 directive, Ms Ndeti nullified “all recruitments and promotions done between August 1, 2021 and October 30, 2022 alongside their respective financial benefits”.

She also stopped the salaries of employees “who may be drawing salaries from both the county government and the national government”.

Although Ms Ndeti explained that the workforce shakeup was meant to control the county’s ballooning wage bill, her critics feel the assembly is working at her behest to create opportunities for her cronies.  By Pius Maundu, NMG

Kagina told MPs that UNRA closed the financial year with total arrears of Shs528 billion including Shs89.5 billion for road maintenance which is generating interests

The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) says that it is paying up to Shs342 million daily in interest to project contractors who have not been paid for their work. 

UNRA officials led by their Executive Director, Allen Kagina, on Tuesday, 22 November 2022 appeared before the finance committee over the impact of the inadequate cash limit for the half year of Financial Year 2022/2023.

Kagina told MPs that UNRA closed the financial year with total arrears of Shs528 billion including Shs89.5 billion for road maintenance which is generating interest.

She said that the Government released Shs689 billion against a requirement of Shs1.2 trillion.

“The arrears position has increased by 145.75 per cent from Shs215 billion at the end of the Financial Year 2020/21 to Shs528 billion at the end of the Financial Year 2021/2022. This is largely attributed to the budget suppression as observed above that is only 77 per cent of the approved Government of Uganda budget that was released,” Kagina said.

Otuke County MP, Hon. Paul Omara said Shs342 million in interest lost daily by government is a huge blow to the economy

She added that for failure to pay the debt, they will incur nugatory expenditure that includes interest expenses, idle equipment, and reduction in the works by the contractors.

Kagina further told the MPs that this will also lead to failure to acquire land for the different projects in time and failure to sign contracts whose procurements have been completed.
MPs were shocked to know that government was losing Shs342 million daily to interest on debts that are not being paid.

Kabula County MP Hon. Enos Asiimwe said there is a need to clear the arrears as it is leading the government to lose. He tasked UNRA to explain how the interests came about.

“If you can give us a table of how this money has got to this point, and which companies are demanding this money, and the communication between you and finance demanding this payment - we need to know who is not doing his job,” he said.

Otuke County MP, Hon. Paul Omara said Shs342 million in interest lost daily by government is a huge blow to the economy and sought to understand where the main cause of the problem is from UNRA.

Relatedly, the MPs also tasked UNRA to explain its failure to rehabilitate the Kamdini-Lira Road and the Karuma-Pakwach Road which have been in a sorry state and negatively impacted on service delivery and transportation.

Kagina told the MPs that road works on the Kamdini-Lira Road will start this week, while the procurement process for the Karuma-Pakwach Road construction has started.

She told MPs that the challenge with road construction is that there are numerous commitments to construct the roads compared to the available resources.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.

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