CS Murkomen's New Road Directives, Meg Whitman Spills Ruto Treatment in US Visit

President William Ruto and US Ambassador Meg Whitman.
President William Ruto and US Ambassador Meg Whitman.

Hello and welcome to the Evening Brief Newsletter where we have the granular details of Ruto's US State Visit and the deals he is angling for

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Tightening Timelines

Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen hit the road today with two new directives; one to the contractor and another to school buses.

In the former, the CS personally travelled to Lamu to assess the Lamu-Wito-Garsen-Gamba Road that was completely cut off by floods making transportation from the Lamu Port to Ethiopia impossible.

The road, which was expected to facilitate the transportation of 60,000 tonnes of fertiliser to Ethiopia, was destroyed by floods forcing travellers to resort to using boats to cross a section of the road.

CS Kipchumba Murkomen visits a road cut off by floods.
CS Kipchumba Murkomen visits a road cut off by floods.
Kipchumba Murkomen

The Stranglehold: None of the fertiliser tonnes has been delivered to Ethiopia due to the road destruction that left over 800 trucks stuck along the stretch for days.

The Directive: Murkomen as a result instructed a contractor in charge of a section of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project to ensure that it is complete in 9 months.

What Murkomen is Saying: "The biggest loss we have is that we had marketed the Port of Lamu through Lapsset and talked to South Sudan and Ethiopia and they agreed to use the Port of Lamu. They brought 60,000 tonnes of fertiliser but after arrival, we experienced a flooding problem."

  • "We are here on the Lapsset Corridor connecting Lamu to Ijara which is 250 kilometers. This road will be the solution. We have agreed with the contractor that the work should be complete by February next year to solve this problem we have of flooding."

The Sidelines: Murkomen stated that the heavy rainfall which kicked off in March has caused damage estimated between Ksh25 billion and Ksh30 billion.

Catch Up Quick; The country was already stepping up Lapsset construction efforts after Ethiopian vessel MV Abbay II docked at the Port of Lamu with a consignment of 60,000 metric tons of fertiliser.

  • The arrival marked the first major importation by Ethiopia through the port after years of Kenya's marketing effort to convert Ethiopia and South Sudan into using the port.

School Bus Owners Schooled

Separately, the Ministry of Transport rolled out six new requirements for school buses as school reopening takes root countrywide.

The requirements: NTSA now expects all school buses to be fitted with fictional speed limiters that must be onboarded onto the NTSA Intelligent Road Safety Management System (IRSMS) for monitoring the speed of the vehicles.

  • All the vehicles are required to have a valid inspection certificate and valid Road Service Licenses (RSL).
  • Equally, the vehicles are expected to have valid vehicle insurance coverage.
  • The Authority also expects school vehicles to be fitted with functional seatbelts.

Catch Up Quick: The Ministry is in the process of cleaning up road practices in an effort to lower road carnage from its current figure of over 4,500 deaths. All sectors of road users from public service vehicles to personal cars and commercial trucks were affected.

Step-by-Step State Visit

In exactly one week, President William Ruto will board his jet for the most important visit of his life, a State Visit to the United States of America.

Ahead of the visit, US Ambassador to Kenya Meg Whitman, also for the first time, gave granular details of the rigorous schedule Ruto will undergo immediately after he steps off the Kenya Air Force One.

The State visit will be monumental for the country and will feature in-depth engagement between the two presidents and other government officials.

The Journey; To commence his visit, Ruto is expected to be in Atlanta for two days. During his stay in Atlanta, he will engage the business community as they seek to lure American companies to set shop in Kenya.

  • Later on, Ruto is set to travel to Washington DC where he will be hosted by President Joe Biden.
  • At the US Capital, Ruto's cabinet and that of Biden will engage in various bilateral arrangements. Afterward, a State dinner will be hosted at the White House. "There will be 300 to 400 people at the dinner. It is a very formal and a big honour," Whitman said.
  • State visits also involve a lot of pomp and colour including an arrival ceremony, diplomatic talks, a State Dinner, and entertainment in the East Room.
A photo of US President Joe Biden (left) and President William Ruto (right)
A photo of US President Joe Biden (left) and President William Ruto (right)

What Whitman is Saying: "The State visit is the highest honour that a country and Head of State can have. It has all the formalities of a dinner at the White House."

Deals Eyed: While in the land of milk and honey, the President is angling to secure deals in at least eight sectors according to the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce.

  • Kenyan President will tag along with 30 business leaders from sectors such as cotton and apparel, leather, coffee, tea, finance, technology, healthcare, real estate, and energy.
  • The delegates will engage with stakeholders from organizations like the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce, with the aim of fostering collaboration and creating opportunities for international trade and investment.

[DATA POINT] A Helping Hand

Several organisations have contributed towards relief for families most impacted by the floods with the US, UK, India, and Google at the top of the list.

By the Numbers: 238 people lost their lives while over 200,000 others were displaced. Nearly 2,000 schools were destroyed and 47,000 households evacuated. CS Kipchumba Murkomen says the total damage to roads by the floods is valued at between Ksh25 billion and Ksh30 billion

Here is a graphic showing how much aid top players provided to Kenya.

Timeline of donations for Kenyan flood victims.
Timeline of donations for Kenyan flood victims.

As you ponder on that, here are five other stories we are keeping an eye on today;

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This newsletter was written by Derrick Kubasu and edited by Brian Muuo.

Washington Mito contributed to the content.

Graphics prepared by Sylvia Kalulu.

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