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’

The Star (Kenya) - - Front Page - CHARLES MGHENYI @CharlesMghenyi

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.

/ALPHONCE GARI

Mom­basa Gover­nor Has­san Joho, Kil­ifi’s Ama­son Kingi and Cord leader Raila Odinga dis­trib­ute food in Mar­ereni, Ma­garini sub­county, on Wed­nes­day

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