Joho an ‘aca­demic dwarf’ who can’t grasp dry port, says Ruto

In 2014 the state be­gan to re­fur­bish dry ports to cater for in­creas­ing cargo and cut busi­ness costs in East and Cen­tral Africa. Joho says Coast econ­omy will be dev­as­tated

The Star (Kenya) - - Counties - ERNEST COR­NEL @OduorErnest

Mom­basa Gov­er­nor Has­san Joho is an “aca­demic dwarf” with a ques­tion­able de­gree mak­ing him op­pose the set up of dry ports, Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto has said.

He spoke on Sun­day at the launch of the Ju­bilee Party, Coast chap­ter, at Tononoka Grounds.

Joho has been re­ject­ing plans to set up a dry port in Naivasha and on Sun­day in Kilifi he bashed Ruto, say­ing he has no right to lec­ture Coast peo­ple.

The gov­ern­ment in 2014 em­barked on a pro­gramme to re­fur­bish and in­crease ca­pac­ity at the dry ports to cater for the in­creas­ing cargo vol­umes. Kenya Ports Author­ity un­veiled a three­year plan to ex­pand di­lap­i­dated dry ports.

The project aims to cut busi­ness costs in East and Cen­tral Africa. Cash for the port projects will be drawn from money for rail con­struc­tion.

Joho has said jobs will be lost in Mom­basa if a dry port is set up and clear­ing agents will be the worst hit.

“Ruto should make pub­lic the agree­ment be­tween KPA, SGR and the gov­ern­ment over the SGR since KPA has been made to pay for it,” Joho said yes­ter­day. He said Coast peo­ple will be marginalised by the dry ports.

ODM lead­ers, es­pe­cially from Mom­basa, have echoed his sen­ti­ment.

Kakamega Se­na­tor Boni Khal­wale also sup­ported Joho dur­ing ODM’s 10th an­niver­sary festivities in Mom­basa.

ODM leader Raila Odinga has said set­ting up a dry port is a wider scheme by Ju­bilee to ‘hurt’ the Coast econ­omy.

Cur­rently, 70 per cent of Kenya’s im­ports end up in Nairobi, in­cur­ring higher trans­port costs, travel time from the Port of Mom­basa. Busi­nesses are in­con­ven­di­enced and con­sumer prices are pushed up.

The gov­ern­ment said it is nec­es­sary to bring ser­vices closer to cus­tomers by, for ex­am­ple, in­tro­duc­ing dry ports in Naivasha and other ar­eas.

But Joho has said the Ju­bilee gov­ern- ment is out to “fin­ish” the county. He said it does not make eco­nomic sense to cre­ate a dry port when there is an ex­ist­ing sea­port in Mom­basa.

Joho said all crit­i­cal port ser­vices will be trans­ferred to Naivasha via the SGR. The Coast city will be left with­out ma­jor port ac­tiv­i­ties, thus Mom­basa will turn into a ghost town as thou­sands will be out of work, he says.

The Deputy Pres­i­dent said only those with ques­tion­able aca­demic pa­pers can­not un­der­stand the port’s op­er­a­tions. Since 2013, Joho’s aca­demic pa­pers have been chal­lenged in court af­ter claims that he forged them.

He was cleared by the court, which de­clared he had a gen­uine de­gree from Kam­pala In­ter­na­tional Univer­sity.

Ruto said the port han­dles not only im­ported cargo but also ex­ports.

“I hear some peo­ple here in Mom­basa are op­posed to the dry port. Those are the ef­fects of buy­ing [aca­demic] pa­pers,” he said at the Mom­basa Women’s Hall. But Joho said there are in­sti­tu­tions in the coun­try and out­side that de­ter­mine the au­then­tic­ity of any aca­demic cer­tifi­cates and so he shouldn’t talk about it.

Ruto said the gov­ern­ment is de­ter­mined to es­tab­lish dry ports in Nairobi, Naivasha and Kisumu. He faulted crit­ics for un­rea­son­able op­po­si­tion.

At Tononoka, Ruto ac­cused Joho of con­sis­tently at­tack­ing him.

“I am not in a con­test with you,” he said.

Speak­ing separately in Kilifi on Sun­day, Joho said Ruto has no author­ity to “lec­ture” Coast peo­ple.

“Telling peo­ple the truth about his [Ruto’s] char­ac­ter doesn’t amount to a con­test,” the gov­er­nor said.

Joho has been bash­ing Ruto, say­ing he is not his match. The gov­er­nor has said that in 2022, he will de­feat Ruto hands down if they face off for Pres­i­dent. Joho in­tends to run on an ODM ticket to get to the top seat, while Ruto will con­test on a JP ticket.

An­a­lysts say Joho’s at­tack on Ruto is a wider plan to dis­credit him and putlthe DP off bal­ance in 2022.

Dur­ing the rally, Ruto said he can­not com­pete with Joho, who boasts of hav­ing mas­sive wealth.

“If you have money in a brief­case or a sack full of cash, that’s yours. I don’t have time for that,” Ruto said.

Joho has told off JP lead­ers, in­clud­ing Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta and Ruto, say­ing he can­not be bought.

CHARLES KI­MANI/DPPS

Deputy Pres­i­dent Wil­liam Ruto at Tononoka Grounds in Mom­basa on Sun­day/

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