BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,27TH JUNE,2021-President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday denounced his critics, saying empty rhetoric will not stop him from delivering on his promises to the Kenyan people.
Uhuru said insulting him or any other leader will not help.
“For those who want to continue shouting, let them do so. We are at work till the last minute,” the President said. “Our aim is to ensure Kenya is better than we found it.”
He was speaking in Mombasa where he launched the Sh10 billion Kenya Marine Fisheries Socio-Economic Development Project.
In an apparent reference to the Tangatanga brigade, Uhuru said no one will stop him from working for Kenyans until his last day in office.
“Insults everyday will not help,” the President said.
And in an apparent reference to his preferred successor, Uhuru said he will leave it to him and his running mate to continue with the work he has started.
“For those who will come (after me), let them push forward and achieve the other objectives,” he said.
He announced more benefits for the Coast region, saying he will be back after a few months to issue title deeds to help address the perennial land problems.
“And when I come back, General Rtd) Samson Mwathethe, I would like to walk around with you so I can see different projects of different people,” said the President.
He he will see whether funds reached their beneficiaries.
Uhuru said he is keen to make all Kenyans feel equal and that no one is left behind by the government.
“We want everyone to feel Kenyan whether they are in Lamu, Turkana or wherever they are,” the President said.
This is what the reforms in different sectors such as coffee, tea, sugar and small-scale business are meant to achieve, he said.
President Uhuru highlighted the efforts government has made in improving the road network and countrywide electricity connectivity.
The five-year Kemsfed project started on August 20 last year and aims at leveraging emerging opportunities in the Blue Economy.
It will be implemented across 19 subcounties and 98 wards in five Coast counties of Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu.
The subcounties include Lungalunga, Msambweni, Matuga and Kinango in Kwale county; Nyali, Changamwe, Jomvu, Kisauni, Mvita, Likoni in Mombasa county and Kilifi North, Kilifi South, Malindi, Magarini, Ganze and Rabai in Kilifi county.
Others include Garsen in Tana River county and Lamu East, and Lamu West in Lamu county.
The project seeks to strengthen the fishers and households dependent on fishing, and rural communities with direct or indirect links to fishing.
The project, which will be financed by the government and the World Bank, will support women, youth and vulnerable and marginalised groups by guaranteeing access to markets for their products.
Uhuru said Kenya’s national fish production hardly meets the demand.
The demand stands at 350,000 metric tonnes yet Kenya only produces 170,000 metric tonnes.
“Our inland waters produce about 70 per cent of the total fish production that is consumed locally with post-harvest losses estimated at 30 per cent. Thaat makes the national deficit approximately 70 per cent of our national demand for fish,” Uhuru said.
He said Kenya is capable of meeting the demand from the over 300,000 metric tonnes of fish available annually within the Exclusive Economic Zone.
Kenya lies within one of the only the five key tuna regions globally and Uhuru said his administration will develop and add value to these resources.
The project will help create 60,000 jobs over the next few years across the country.
The government seeks to land at least 300,000 metric tonnes of fish annually which will fetch an estimated Sh100 billion annually and inject about Sh12 billion in tax revenues,
Uhuru said the project contains elements of Kenya’s post-Covid-19 recovery agenda.
Already, the President said, the government has allocated for the 2021-22 fiscal year, a further Sh2.1 billion towards the development of Phase One of the tuna fish hub at the Liwatoni Fish Port in Mombasa.
Another Sh1 billion has been provided for the development of a fish-processing facility at the Lamu port.
On Saturday, he directed the products by the two facilities must be of the highest standards. He told the Oceans and Blue Economy office, the Depart of Fisheries, Agriculture and Blue Economy, the Public Works Department and Treasury to ensure the goals are achieved.
He directed Treasury CS Ukur Yatani to ensure timely release of funds so facilities in Liwatoni and Lamu can operateas soon as possible, no later than January 1, 2022.