ODM leader Raila Odinga has assured Nyanza residents that plans to revive collapsed industries in the region are well on course.
Mr Odinga, who recently toured various projects undergoing revival in the region, said Industrialisation Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya is expected to make a visit at the collapsed Kisumu Cotton Mills (Kicomi) whose revival has been mooted as part of the ongoing plans by the government to jump-start the region’s economy.
He had earlier toured the Kisumu Port currently undergoing a round-the-clock upgrade ahead of the planned August launch.
Also in the plans is the jetty that is expected to deliver an efficient, viable integrated marine fuel transportation system for the region.
Mr Odinga returned to the port on Saturday, his second inspection visit this month. This was the fifth time Mr Odinga was visiting the port this year, twice in the company of President Uhuru Kenyatta in a private inspection visit.
The President has on the other hand visited the port three times, and early this month made an inspection visit alone as Mr Odinga was attending an African union event in Niger.
The projects are expected to awaken the region’s sleeping blue economy. Speaking at his Opoda farm in Bondo, Siaya County where he hosted over 500 farmers on the Farmers Field Day in a collaboration with the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis), the ODM leader promised that Kicomi would be revived in the same way the Eldoret-based Rivatex was.
“We want to reopen and revive our factories so they can start working,” he said. “Recently the government revived Rivatex. I want to assure you that even Kicomi will be revived and put under the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology,” he stated.
He added that the Special Economic Zones and industrial park planned for the region will see factories come up, which will create job opportunities.
The ODM leader said the March 2018 handshake between him and President Uhuru Kenyatta was meant to unite Kenya to put a stop to the unrest the country experienced after the 2017 General Election.
He said part of the agreement under the handshake was to ensure equality in terms of development and employment across the country. Mr Odinga said he was to accompany President Kenyatta for the Lake Turkana Wind Power project launch but they agreed that he would proceed to Bondo for the Opoda farm event.
Speaking at the farmer’s field day at his Bondo home, the ODM Leader said some people in Jubilee were unhappy with his unity with the President because they are disappointed that their handshake had opened doors for development in Nyanza and brought about stability in the region.
He noted that, through the handshake, the country will put an end to rampant corruption and impunity.He said that with President Kenyatta, they will deal with poverty, illiteracy and poor health.
He stated that Kenyans will be able to realise the dreams of its founding fathers like Jaramogi Oginga and Jomo Kenyatta if they uphold the spirit of the words in the National Anthem.
“I have been singing about Canaan. It’s not the vision of Raila alone. It is well represented in the National Anthem,” he stated.
He said Siaya was a cash crop growing region which specialised in cotton, simsim and groundnuts before the sector collapsed due to mismanagement.
“Simsim would be taken to Nyanza Oil Mills which produced cooking fat and the leftovers would be fed to livestock. Then came monopolies after independence. Farmers would go for months without pay after delivering their produce and this resulted in frustrations and suffering and they eventually abandoned growing the crops altogether. The monopolies also killed groundnuts and simsim. That’s where the rain started beating us,” he said.
He said the sector would be revived and farmers in the region would be able to resume cash crop farming.
Mr Odinga’s elder brother, Dr Oburu Oginga, said the handshake was not coming to an end anytime soon. The East African Legislative Assembly MP said the effects of the handshake were visible.