President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing residents of Kisumu town on arrival in the county on April 18, 2017 ahead of the 58th edition of the National Drama Festivals State concert at Kisumu State Lodge. PHOTO | PSCU
Revive collapsed industries, Kisumu residents tell Uhuru
Residents and Kisumu leaders have asked President Uhuru Kenyatta to revive collapsed industries to create employment for them.
The locals, who thronged Kisumu streets to welcome the Head of State, also expressed their displeasure at his last-minute visit to the lakeside city.
They felt that the revival of Kisumu Cotton Mills (Kicomi), East Africa Breweries Limited, Kenya Matches, Miwani sugar industries were more urgent than eradicating water hyacinth and nurturing arts and culture, which Mr Kenyatta had given priority.
One resident, Mercy Anyango, said that the small-scale businesses that many residents engage in are not profitable and youths and women need permanent employment.
“I prepare and sell chips but currently the wholesale price has shot up and we are not making any profit. Industries should be revived for us to get permanent employment,” said Mrs Anyango.
Another resident, Phillip Manasseh, who sells eggs in town, said there was little to show in Kisumu as development sponsored by the national government.
But he added that the region saw infrastructure development during the Grand Coalition Government headed jointly by then President Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga as prime minister.
“All we want is employment and this can only be achieved through revival of industries. But this has not been addressed by the President during his visit,” said Mr Manasseh.
Justus Olang said Kicomi employed thousands of residents and its closure dealt a blow to many families and cotton farmers.
“Many of us have academic papers yet we have resorted to doing menial jobs like boda boda,” said Mr Olang.
Also raised by local leaders was the failure of the national government to solve the Lake Basin Development Authority Mall stalemate.
Last week, dozens of Kisumu residents protested over what they claimed was a plot by the government to auction the Sh4.2 billion mall.
They wanted to compel the government to clear the Sh2.5 billion bank loan to ensure the LBDA Mall starts operations.
“The president needs to justify why the flagship Lake Basin Mall complex in Kisumu is not yet operational close to a year since its completion while the unemployment rate continues to soar in the region,” said Opiyo Wandayi, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) director of political affairs.
Mr Wandayi said the President should explain the failure of his administration in easing the burden of sugarcane farmers by writing off the debts of local milling factories.
The Ugunja MP also dismissed development projects the Jubilee administration said it had initiated in the region, saying the President was taking credit for projects sponsored by the county government and CDF disbursements.
“These disbursements are anchored in the Constitution and statutes and would still have come whether Jubilee was in power or not,” said Mr Wandayi.
He said Mr Kenyatta should explain to western region residents why they have not benefited from any new infrastructure project since Jubilee ascended to power in 2013.
He said the region had not seen part of the new 10,000 kilometres of tarmacked roads Jubilee says it has constructed across the country.
“It’s unsettling that the President would probably be overflying a water hyacinth-choked Lake Victoria as he lands in Kisumu yet his office has completely failed to give a road map for tackling this menace. Yet the Lake remains the mainstay of the region’s economy,” he said.
Source: Daily Nation