I am not an academic dwarf, Mombasa Governor Joho tells DP Ruto
Deputy President told to stick to maize and agriculture. ‘You are the one who is ignorant about port matters. You should let me teach you’
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho yesterday rebuked Deputy President William Ruto for calling him an “academic dwarf” who doesn’t understand ports.
“Let me tell you [Ruto], you can call me whatever you wish. Let me be an academic dwarf. But if it is for interests of my people, I don’t give a damn about it,” he said at Aldina in Jomvu subcounty during the monthly Town Hall meeting.
“You [Ruto] are the one who is ignorant about port matters. You should let me teach you about port operations. Stick to maize and other agricultural practices.”
Ruto on Sunday accused Joho of having questionable academic certificates. He said Joho does not understand port operations and that is why he is opposed to the setting up of a dry port in Naivasha.
Ruto spoke at the Mombasa Women ‘s Hall. He said Joho is uninformed on port matters. “I hear some people here in Mombasa are opposed to the dry port. Those are the effects of buying [academic] papers,” he said.
Joho said he will not be intimidated into keeping quiet about matters of importance to Mombasa residents.
Ruto said the port does not only handle imported cargo, but also exports.
He faulted critics for being “unreasonable”.
Joho said the Jubilee government wants to drive the Coast to poverty by transferring port operations upcountry.
“Does he know how many people, clearing agents, truck drivers and warehouse operators in Mombasa that would lose their jobs?” Joho asked. § “They want to transfer the dry dock to Naivasha so that their people can benefit.”
Joho has been at loggerheads with the Jubilee leadership over what he terms deliberate efforts by the national government to sideline the Coast. “I will tell it like it is,” he said. Other Cord leaders who have opposed a dry port in Naivasha include ODM leader Raila Odinga and Kakamega Senator Boni Khalwale.
Raila has said setting up a dry port is a wider scheme by Jubilee to ‘hurt’ the Coast economy.
Seventy per cent of Kenya’s imports end up in Nairobi. Traders have to pay relatively high costs for transport of goods from the Port of Mombasa.
This pushes the prices of goods for consumers.
As a result, the government said services should be brought closer to customers by, among other initiatives, building dry ports in Naivasha and other regions.
But Joho has said the Jubilee gov- ernment is out to “finish” the county.
He said it does not make economic sense to create a dry port when there is an existing sea port in Mombasa.
Joho said all crucial port services will be transferred to Naivasha via the standard gauge Railway.
The Coast will be left without major port activities, making Mombasa a ghost town with thousands of jobless residents, he said.
Ruto said, “Only people with questionable papers don’t understand port operations.”
On Tuesday, Joho said his government will continue to fight for the rights of residents and at also engage with stakeholders to develop the county.
He said water will be supplied to Jomvu, which has an acute shortage. Joho said water bowsers will distribute water to the area daily as a short-term measure.
The water shortage has been caused by the new connections on the Mzima pipeline.
This has lead to the reduction of water supply to Mombasa by 11,000 cubic metres per day.
Yesterday Joho also denied that Raila defended him over graft allegations in his county.
Speaking on Star on the phone yesterday, Joho said Raila defended his Kilifi counterpart Amason Kingi, and there was no mention of Mombasa.
“We have no corruption scandals and that is an issue that never arose,” he said.
Joho said Mombasa has been operating smoothly.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, Kilifi’s Amason Kingi and Cord leader Raila Odinga distribute food in Marereni, Magarini subcounty, on Wednesday