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Uhuru, Raila take another discreet tour of Kisumu port

Friday June 14 2019

Uhuru and Raila in Seme

ODM leader Raila Odinga greets President Uhuru Kenyatta upon his arrival at Rata in Seme, Kisumu County, for the burial of Governor Anyang' Nyongo'o's mother on June 14, 2019. PHOTO | TONNY OMONDI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

CAROLINE WAFULA
By CAROLINE WAFULA
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VICTOR RABALLA
By VICTOR RABALLA
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President Uhuru Kenyatta and ODM leader Raila Odinga on Friday took a discreet, impromptu tour of the Kisumu port to check progress of construction work that is part of a facelift.

Sirens did not sound and there were no official flags on about 12 vehicles that made their way to Maritime Training Institute at the port. The media were locked out.

President Kenyatta and Mr Odinga inspected the work as hawk-eyed security agents kept watch, turning away a handful of curious residents and journalists.

YACHT CLUB

The two leaders were later quietly driven into the Milimani suburb, past State House and on to the exclusive Yacht Club, where they spent about an hour having talks over a meal.

They left in the same fashion at about 7.20pm and headed to Kisumu International Airport, where the President boarded his aircraft back to Nairobi.

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The two leaders' tour was reminiscent of a visit on January 19, when they attended the burial of former Youth Development Fund chairman Bruce Odhiambo in Muhoroni.

At that time, they also visited the port and then went to that club.

DRY DOCK

Mr Kenyatta and Mr Odinga earlier attended the burial of Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o’s mother in Rata, Seme, a ceremony which ended at around 5pm.

Sources privy to the tour said they also visited the dry dock where the giant MV Uhuru was berthed.

The government plans to restore the facility where big ships that plied Lake Victoria were manufactured. They include SS Usoga, SS Nyanza, SS Ukerewe and MV Victoria.

The steel hull of the 1,000-tonne and 91-metre-long MV Uhuru cargo carrier is also expected to roar back to life as the dredging of the lake will make it possible for big ships to navigate.

STRICT DEADLINES

The government has so far given Sh500 million for the port's facelift and has promised another Sh2.5 billion in the financial year starting July.

Contractors are working to beat strict deadlines as the President is set to commission the harbour in August.

Mr Odinga, who visited the region in March with Cabinet Secretaries James Macharia (Transport), John Munyes (Mining) and Peter Munya (Trade), said Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and the DRC's Felix Tshisekedi will attend the ceremony.

He took the tour accompanied by officials including Kisumu Woman Representative Rosah Buyu.