Uhuru Kenyatta in second low-key Coast visit

Wednesday August 1 2018

President Uhuru Kenyatta

President Uhuru Kenyatta greets Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho during the official opening of the first phase of Dongo Kundu bypass in Mombasa in June. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MOHAMED AHMED
By MOHAMED AHMED
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President Uhuru Kenyatta has pitched camp at the Coast for the second time in a week as speculation heightened over his activities in the region.

His handlers were mum over the visit as ODM leader Raila Odinga's spokesman Dennis Onyango denied claims that the two had met.

Speaking to the Nation on Monday evening, Mr Onyango denied that Mr Odinga had met President Kenyatta, saying that was a creation of the media.

The Head of State is said to have been keenly following operations at the port.

On Monday, a communication from State House confirmed that President Kenyatta was in Mombasa. “At a meeting with Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, attended by Cabinet Secretaries Najib Balala (Tourism) and Keriako Tobiko (Environment), the President also agreed to a request by the County Government of Mombasa for a city regeneration intervention modelled on the Nairobi Regeneration Programme,” a statement issued by the President's spokesperson Kanze Dena said.

RETURNED TO COAST

Contacted on Tuesday, Ms Dena said: “The President is at work. He can work from anywhere. Just know he is at work. He is free to work anywhere in this country.”

Ms Dena did not respond to reports that his boss met Mr Odinga during his second visit to the region which started on Sunday.

Mr Kenyatta returned to the Coast a day after he met retired President Daniel Moi at his Kabarak home in Nakuru on Saturday. He visited the former Head of State after he had stayed at his Vipingo home for five days.

The President’s eight-day stay in the region, which has been termed “not official”, has also left security personnel on high alert.

President Kenyatta has been moving around with little security escort. “The President has been here, but he has not been spending most of his time at State House,” said a top government officials.

PEACE PACT

Last week, Mr Odinga arrived in Mombasa on Thursday. Mr Odinga and President Kenyatta are said to have met the peace pact committee headed by lawyers Martin Kimani and Paul Mwangi during last week’s Coast visit.

His return to Mombasa has set tongues wagging, with some saying he could be planning to reorganise the government to accommodate Opposition representatives.

“What we know is that the boss is in Mombasa, but we don’t know exactly what is going on. However, there are reports of a possible reconstitution of the government,” said a Jubilee MP, who asked not to be named.

He added: “In fact, he was supposed to officially open a trade event involving the ministry and attended by many countries’ representatives at KICC, but he was represented by the Deputy President.”

When President Kenyatta ordered the Kibarani dumpsite to be returned to the county government following grabbing claims, Mr Joho went to social media to praise the move.

He said on his Twitter account: “Thanks President H.E @UKenyatta … This move will fasten the repositioning of Mombasa as a top tourist destination in the region.”