Citing Mombasa upgrade, Joho lauds Uhuru-Raila handshake

Monday January 28 2019

Hassan Joho, William Kingi

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho with other county officials and Unep representatives during a tour of Kibarani on January 28, 2019. PHOTO | LABAN WALLOGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

WINNIE ATIENO
By WINNIE ATIENO
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Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho is of the view that the handshake is "magical", owing to how much his county has benefited.

'Handshake' refers to the national unity and development agreement that President Uhuru Kenyatta and Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga sealed with a shocking announcement on March 9, 2018.

Mr Joho, who once termed himself an influential person by virtue of his good relationship with President Kenyatta, noted that he has visited Mombasa several times.

He also said that they have had conference calls on matters including the Kibarani beautification project.

"NEVER SEEN"

On Monday, Governor Joho reiterated that his good relationship with the head of State is due to the handshake with his party leader.

“After the handshake it was easy for me to engage the national government," he said.

"The President has put me on video call several times, with several ministers, asking about Kibarani. He is following it up. Principal and Cabinet secretaries have visited this place. We are working with the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) to change this place."

He added that President Kenyatta has been helpful in the regeneration of the county.

“I got blessings from the President. We are happy that we are working together. When I announced the closure of the dumpsite, I immediately got a call from Mr Kenyatta asking me if I needed his support. I told him I needed environment, transport and infrastructure Cabinet secretaries and he put us on a conference call. I have never seen that."

UNITY

According to the governor, the secret to success is working together.

“There are no two ways [about it]. You must think, move and work together. That is why you are seeing rapid results,” he said.

Regarding Kibarani, the county chief said it will be the most beautiful location in the region and invited the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) to help with the realisation of the dream.

Its transformation into a recreational park will take six months, he said, adding the devolved unit was planning to use the waste to produce methane gas.

The governor pointed out the advantage of working with partners such as the government, the Environment ministry, the private sector and Nema.

"We can each contribute positively," he said. “[The project] is taking shape. In another six months you will not believe this is Kibarani. We are also consulting on producing energy since there is a lot of methane down here. We will transform this area."

KEY CITY

Nema Director-General Geoffrey Wahungu said he monitor the beautification progress to its conclusion

“This is a joint effort; it has not been easy. We have strained each other but consultations are important. This is the result of working together," he said.

"Then we have Mama Ngina regeneration. We urge other counties to follow suit."

Environment Principal Secretary Ali Noor Ismael noted the significance of conserving the environment.

“Mombasa is an important city. It is the gateway to this country in terms of its economy. It is also the tourist capital," he said.

"It is a city whose environmental issues we must deal with. Mombasa is cleaner and more beautiful due to the uniform paintings,” he added, adding that some leaders tried to close the dumpsite but that Mr Joho’s commitment resulted in improvements.

Mombasa's environment minister Geoffery Nato said the decommissioning of the dumpsite started with stopping dumping, levelling the site and covering it with quarry dust and soil

“We are now planting palm trees and casuarina. A multi-agency stakeholders team has helped us. The dumpsite was sitting on a very sensitive marine eco system,” Dr Nato noted.