Ruto’s order of returning port operations to Mombasa takes effect
By Joshua Cheloti
The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has initiated a process that will see all operations returned to the Mombasa port.
This is in line with a directive that President William Ruto issued during his inauguration.
Speaking in his first speech as President, Ruto said he would keep his campaign promise of reverting port operations to Mombasa.
“This afternoon I will be issuing instructions for clearing of goods and other attendant operation issues to revert to the port of Mombasa as I made a commitment to Kenyan,” the president said on September 13, 2022.
About two weeks later, KPA has now issued a statement signalling the start of reverting the operations to the coastal city.
“The Kenya Ports Authority wishes to affirm its commitment to implement the directive by His Excellency the president during his inauguration on September 13, 2022 that clearing of all goods and other attendant operational issues to revert to the port of Mombasa,” KPA acting Managing Director Amb. John Mwangemi said in a statement on Monday, September 26, 2022.
In the statement, Mwangemi noted that going forward, importers will now be allowed to choose how and where their products will be cleared.
The authority had in 2018 issued a statement transferring the clearing of cargo from Mombasa port to Naivasha dry port.
It is a move that was opposed by a section of politicians on the coast who lamented that it has affected the city’s economy.
Return of port operations to Mombasa was a key campaign issue for Ruto and his Kenya Kwanza coalition, and the president affirmed his commitment to keeping every promise he had made.
“This is therefore to notify all shipping lines that importers documentation of place of clearance and mode of transport of their goods shall be at their choice. Shipping lines are hereby advised to facilitate importers nomination of place of clearance, including port clearance, Kenya Kevenue Authority’s licensed container freight stations (CFS) and Kenya Ports Authority’s inland container depots,” said the KPA acting boss.
“This notice supersedes the notice of 6th June 2018 on a similar subject. Please be guided accordingly,” he added.
The KPA’s directive has already been welcomed by some of the coast politicians.
In a Facebook post, former Mombasa Senator Hassan Omar said it signals the end of state capture.
“Ending State Capture. Round 1. Done. Thank you H.E The President William Samoei Ruto Round 2 awaits. The return of all public infrastructure (Terminals, Berths etc) back into the hands of the people of Kenya. How dare they steal our public infrastructure under the guise of PPP? How dare they, how dare they? Freedom it is!” he said.