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Bid to skip Kisumu in rail plan faulted

Monday June 30 2014

President Uhuru Kenyatta and other leaders during the launch of the standard gauge railway line at Changamwe, Mombasa. Parliament Tuesday cleared the last hurdle standing in the way of the construction of the railway after adopting a report by the Public Investments Committee. PHOTO/FILE

President Uhuru Kenyatta and other leaders during the launch of the standard gauge railway line at Changamwe, Mombasa. Leaders from western Kenya have faulted plans by the government to skip Kisumu in the railway upgrade project. PHOTO/FILE 

LINET WAFULA
By LINET WAFULA
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Leaders from western Kenya have faulted plans by the government to skip Kisumu in the railway upgrade project.

They said the government must ensure the Standard Gauge Railway goes through Kisumu to spur economic development in the region.

Kisumu Deputy Governor Ruth Odinga said the decision to build the railway from Nairobi through Eldoret to Malaba would “render Kisumu International Airport a white elephant”.

“The extension of the railway line to Busia border would open up the three counties — Kisumu Siaya and Busia — for development,” she said.

Addressing stakeholders at a Busia hotel during a forum on trade and investments yesterday, Ms Odinga appealed to Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma, Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga and Sospeter Ojaamong of Busia to unite and save the economy of western Kenya from crumbling.

“The national government needs to support the three neighbouring counties in creating an economic bloc instead of having a divide-and -rule situation,” she said.

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Busia county director for resource mobilisation Peter Odima urged the county governments to work together to achieve development.

Busia executive for trade Hillary Makhulu urged the three counties to come up with joint projects to position the region as a gateway to East and Central Africa.

“For instance, Kisumu can be mandated to install a fishing plan, Siaya a fish leather factory while Busia can build a fish oil factory,” said Mr Wilson Sigogo, a participant.