President Uhuru Kenyatta has asked politicians to shelve narrow political interests and concentrate on working together in serving Kenyans.
The President, who affirmed his commitment to work with leaders from across the political divide to improve the welfare of all Kenyans, said his focus is uniting the country for purposes of achieving rapid development across the country.
“Individual interests of leaders should not be allowed to override the welfare of Kenyans. We need to work together to ensure Kenyans get affordable houses, provide universal health coverage, create jobs through enhancing manufacturing and ensuring food security and nutrition,” President Kenyatta said.
The Head of State was speaking Monday when he presided over the ground-breaking ceremony for the Mama Ngina waterfront regeneration project in Mombasa.
The President said there was nothing wrong for him to work with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga for the benefit of all the over 45 million Kenyans, saying people should stop politicising the move.
“For instance, what is wrong if Raila Odinga says we work together to achieve Universal Health Coverage? What is wrong if we work together to develop Mombasa and make it rival Dubai?” President Kenyatta posed.
The Head of State commended the former Prime Minister for putting aside personal interests and agreeing to the ‘handshake’ aimed at uniting the country.
Noting that the development of the Mama Ngina waterfront is part of ongoing efforts to restore the glory of the seaside city of Mombasa, President Kenyatta said current small traders operating at the site should be given priority when the project is complete.
The President also directed the Ministry of Lands working with the National Land Commission to ensure that grabbed public land at the site revert to public use by the time the upgrading of the recreation site is complete.
“You have five months to ensure that public land is repossessed and reverted to pubic use,” President Kenyatta directed.
The President commended recent growth of the tourism sector, saying for the first time in the country’s history tourists arrival have surpassed the 2 million mark.
“This is a clear sign that the tourism sector is back on track and that means more employment opportunities for our young people, our farmers and our small scale traders,” he said.
President Kenyatta pointed out that it would not have been possible to record the significant growth in the tourism sector without security and political stability.
“For development to be achieved, there must be political stability. We cannot engage in endless politics and expect to develop the country,” the President said.
Former Prime Minister Odinga thanked President Kenyatta for his efforts to unite the country, saying that those engaged in the 2022 succession politics were slowing down the country’s development momentum.
On the regeneration of Mama Ngina Drive, Mr Odinga said the project marks the beginning of a journey that will completely restore the beauty of Mombasa.
“Mombasa has the potential of becoming better than Dubai as a business hub and a tourist destination. What we need to do is ensure that we remove the bureaucratic red tape and curb corruption to attract more tourists and investors,” Mr Odinga said.
Tourism and Wildlife CS Najib Balala thanked President Kenyatta for directing his ministry to set aside Shs 460 million for the regeneration project.
The CS noted that talks of the project started 12 years ago but it is only during President Kenyatta’s tenure that it is being implemented.
He said the refurbishment of Mama Ngina Drive into a major recreation park will take five months and contrary to public speculations, entry to the park after the upgrading will remain free.