President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday offered a basketful of goodies to Lamu County when he announced several multimillion-shilling projects during his tour of the county.
He distributed 848 land title deeds, announced the start of construction work on the Witu-Mokowe road and a grant of Sh200 million to improve and upgrade hospitals and other health centres in the county.
Travelling in a county where some districts have been declared operation zones, security was tight around the President’s entourage, with Kenya the Defence Forces, special police units and regular and Administration Police officers screening people.
There were four armoured personnel carriers, six truckloads of General Service Unit officers, AP and regular police, with the road from Lamu to Gamba heavily guarded.
The President gave title deeds to land owners from five villages in Mkunumbi, Mkunumbi, Ndambwe, Mapenya, Kiongwe and Nagelle.
Addressing a gathering in Mkunumbi, he said the government would ensure land conflicts in Lamu are solved.
He advised those who were given titles to use their land to improve their welfare.
He also warned that the government would not entertain land grabbers and his main target is to ensure all land that was irregularly acquired is returned to the county for public use.
This week, the government announced the revocation of title deeds for more than 350,000 acres in Lamu.
“We are today issuing 848 title deeds to villagers in Mkunumbi, Mapenya, Ndambwe, Kiongwe and Nagelle villages. On Friday, we will be heading to Faza, where we will also issue titles to residents.
The main agenda for my government is to ensure as many squatters as possible are settled in Lamu. Let these titles issued today be of benefit to the citizens. Use them to improve your welfare,” he said.
On the issue of roads, Mr Kenyatta announced that the construction of the Witu-Mokowe road would kick off in the next two months.
“We have heard your long cry concerning the road network in Lamu. It is very unfortunate that Lamu is the only county which does not have even one kilometre of tarmacked road.
We will ensure in two months’ time (that) the construction work of the Witu-Mokowe road kicks off,” the President said.
On health, he promised that the government would use Sh200 million to upgrade Lamu hospitals.
“The target of the government is to ensure each county has at least one Level Five hospital and one Level Four hospital. We will issue Sh100 million for Lamu County Hospital, Sh50 million for Mpeketoni Hospital and another Sh50 million for Faza Sub County Hospital in Lamu East,” he said.
He also called on Lamu leaders to join the Jubilee coalition in bringing more development in the country and urged locals to avoid divisive politics.
“I am delighted to be in Lamu. What we are targeting is development. I call the leaders of this county to join the Jubilee coalition,” he said.
On security, he blamed outsiders for the problem, saying 96 per cent of local residents were peace-loving and obedient citizens.
“I know a few outsiders have spoilt this area, which was so peaceful you could sleep with your doors open.
"We shall crush them very fast so that peace is restored here for economic development,” he said. “We cannot achieve any meaningful development in an atmosphere where there is no peace.”
He said that building infrastructure would enhance economic development in the area and enable farmers to take their produce to the market.
“There is no need to develop the economy if there are no roads,” he said.
Lamu Governor Issa Timamy pledged to partner with the Jubilee coalition in bringing development to the region and the nation.
“We appreciate you, Mr President, for prioritising Lamu in development. We are very ready to work with you in bringing development,” he said.
Nominated MCAs Marubu Muthoni of TNA and Monicah Njambi of the Farmers Party said Lamu was now a stronghold of the Jubilee Party.
“I call on our governor, Issa Timamy, to join Jubilee. What we can confidently announce today is that Lamu County has decided to be a Jubilee stronghold,” said Mrs Njambi.