Deputy President William Ruto yesterday pledged to reverse more government policies that he described as detrimental to the economy of Coast region.
Dr Ruto, who led Kenya Kwanza Alliance campaigns in Likoni and Nyali constituencies in Mombasa County yesterday, promised to rescind the decision transferring Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) operations to Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
Ferry operations were taken over by KPA last June.
KFS facilitated the transportation of motorists, pedestrians and goods between Kwale and Mombasa counties through the Likoni and Mtongwe channels but the ports agency is now incharge of those functions.
KPA also manages the Sh1.9 billion floating pedestrian bridge at Liwatoni. But Dr Ruto said the merger was wrong.
He said the merger violates Article 186 and Schedule 4 (2) of the constitution, which stipulates that ferry services is a county government function that cannot be transferred and that the KPA Act that established the agency gives it the responsibility of running ports but does not extend this mandate to managing operations at the KFS.
"Mombasa people have experienced job losses. We have to address the issue since the process [of merging KPA and KFS] was not procedural," said Dr Ruto.
His sentiments were echoed by Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya, who said the merger of two parastatals had led to many workers being laid off.
"After KFS merged with KPA, we have seen a number of people sent home and we have agreed with DP Ruto. that we shall address the issue within the first few days after we take over the government," said Mr Mvurya.
In the merger, KPA took over ferry staff with the option that those who were uncomfortable working under the new structure could take an early retirement package.
Earlier this month, the DP promised to reverse a decree by the President on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), his first major pronouncement to undo a policy enforced by his boss during their two terms in office.
Yesterday, he revisited the matter, saying, administrative decisions that relocated core functions of the Mombasa port to the inland container depots in Nairobi and Naivasha were pushed by a few people for their own benefit. To ensure easy implementation and to restore port and ferry service, DP Ruto urged Mombasa residents to only vote for United Democratic Movement (UDA) candidates.
"I am seeking your votes to be the next President but I urged you to vote for UDA candidates so as to implement my agenda to suit the people of Kenya," said DP Ruto while addressing a rally at Likoni.
To address land issues, Dr Ruto said that, if elected, his government will start a one million-acre programme to resettle landless people in Coast region.
But speaking in a separate event, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho asked the DP to explain how he acquired his 2,536-acre Mata Farm in Taita-Taveta County, even as a majority of residents remain landless.
“You have the audacity of telling Coast people that you are the remedy to our land challenges yet you are our biggest problem. For 10 years in office what have you done?” he asked at a rally in Malindi.
He further condemned the DP for promising to revert port services, saying, when he (Joho) was defending the harbour the DP criticised him. He accused the DP of leading the scheme of taking port operations from Mombasa to Naivasha.
“I defended the port services being taken but you were the first person to call me an academic dwarf and a con. You told me I didn’t know anything about port matters. Mr Ruto is Kenya’s Deputy President these promises he is pledging at public rallies can be resolved in the cabinet where decisions are made, why is he not doing anything?” Mr Joho posed.
Additional reporting by Maureen Ongala