Written by David Indeje
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Lamu beach house/ Photo/ Courtesy
President Mwai kibaki and the Prime Minister Raila Odinga launched the ground breaking of the Sh 2.4 trillion lamu port Project together with the South Sudan president Salva Kiir and the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Kibaki refuted claims of land grabbing as the project begins.
The Three African leaders affirmed their commitment to live by the agreement signed to see the project is complete.
[Read:President Kibaki, Prime Minister to launch Lamu Port Construction westfm.co.ke/index-page-news-bid-4745.htm]
President Kibaki said they will address the challenges they will face along the way especially insecurity.
“We will work to ensure we neutralize any security challenges. We are happy to note the progress we are making to stabilize Somalia,” said the president.
He further assures the Lamu residents that no land would be taken away from them and that the government will compensate all those who will be affected by the project.
“There is no one going to take your own land, they will be using the buildings to sell their own goods.My government assures the people of Lamu that the government will address their issues as soon as possible. My government will compensate those who will be affected in accordance to the law,” affirmed the President.
President Kibaki further directed the underlying ministries to ensure the local people are factored in the project by ensuring they train and re-skill 1000 youth in readiness to take up employment opportunities offered by the LAPSET project.
“As a government we want the public (the residents of Lamu) to be involved in the development of the Lamu project. We do not want to sell or to grab land, we will ensure you get the title deeds as stated before,” he added.
The Ethiopian PM Meles Zenawi, said, “This project shows our urge to forge our own development. It will position our countries and Kenya as a hub for the link in trans- border corridor.”
Meles described the project as, “A symbol of brotherhood…”
Subsequently, the South Sudan President Salva Kiir, expressed optimism that the project would enhance regional stability.
Kiir further noted that, “This project will enable us see a new future, this is not a small thing to us.”
The project will be completed in three phases: phase 2012-2015, phase 2015-2020, phase two 2020-2030, once complete it’s estimated to contribute to 3per cent of the gross Domestic Product (GDP)
The project which will include among others, an oil refinery, a railway line and a modern road to link Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and the South Sudan capital Juba to the Lamu Port.
The project is designed to provide Kenya with a second, deep-sea port and to open up a route to the landlocked countries of Ethiopia and the newly independent, oil rich South Sudan.
This which will comprise a new road network, railway line, oil refinery at Lamu, oil pipeline, Lamu Airport and free port at Lamu (Manda Bay) in addition to resort cities at the coast and in Isiolo. In addition to raising the scope for this region’s tourism, agriculture and industrial potential, the project will open up access to Southern Sudan, which has huge unexploited natural resources, including oil.
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