LAPSSET Board visits Turkana

Lamu may be hundreds of kilometres from Turkana County, but the establishment of its new port promises to transform the lives and times of this northernmost region of Kenya.

The transport system from Lamu through Turkana into Southern Sudan and Ethiopia will carry with it all trappings of development; roads, superhighways, electricity, water and tourists among a host of others.

Lamu Port-Southern Sudan- Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) board visited Turkana County recently to commence negotiations and sensitization on the project. With them, came a bag filled with promises of better things to come.

Silvester Kasuku, the Director General and CEO Lapsset development authority told a stakeholders meeting at Ceamo Hotel in Lodwar town that the visit was meant to inform the people of Turkana on the benefits of the project.

“The board of the lapsset corridor authority came to commence consultations with the leaders and professionals of Turkana County. We came to tell the Turkana County people what the project is all about because since its design study and its inception, there has been a lot of consolidation which most do not know about,” said Mr. Kasuku.

He added that the project will have a positive impact to the people living along its course: “Electricity lines will be established. People will gain from the grid. The project will also focus of irrigation, fish and livestock development. We will also harness tourism sites and that will eventually give value to household economies,” added the Director.

”We want an industrial establishment stationed in the counties in which the project passes through. We also want to make the counties in Kenya the focal point in industrial processing facilities so that people in those areas can gain from it. It will also open up the Northern part of Kenya,” said Mr. Kasuku.

He noted that the discovery of oil in Turkana brought a new twist to the project whose initial plan focused on South Sudan alone: “Before, we thought oil would only be from South Sudan. Now we have oil in Kenya and Uganda. It is now getting clearer that the pipeline is getting stronger and that we will have more investors,”said Kasuku.
He said that there are greater prospects and connectivity in the road network as other networks will come into play as the project goes on.

The Lapsset board Chairperson Ambassador Francis Muthaura said that the board will work together with the affected county governments to ensure that the project succeeds: “We will join hands with the county governments to ensure that the Lapsset project succeeds and benefits the people in the areas it passes through. We all need to think and help one another so that we can have the project running,” said Mr. Muthaura.

Turkana County Governor Josphat Nanok stated his leadership had not been consulted since the design of the project adding that the board should bring them on board: “We have not been consulted on the design of the lapsset. We need to be among those who make the decisions relating to the project,” Nanok said.

The mega, Sh1.5 trillion LAPSSET project was officially launched in 2012 by President, Mwai Kibaki, President Salvar Kiir of the Republic of South Sudan and the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia at the Lamu Port.

The main components of the project include a road and railway network, an oil pipeline system from South Sudan to Lamu, and airports that will be located at Lamu, Isiolo and Lokichogio.

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