Kisumu port: Purported KPA scandal that never was

Kisumu Port revamping is a national government project and not an exclusive Kenya Ports Authority undertaking, as it may be popularly perceived.

Kurunzi has established, through documents in our possession, that the decision to undertake the project was made following a “inter-ministerial consultative meeting held on Monday, 17 June 2019”.

A letter was then immediately dispatched by Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua, Cabinet Secretaries – Fred Matiangi (Interior), James Macharia (Transport), Keriako Tobiko (Environment) and Margaret Kobia (Public Service) as a call-to-action in line with the decision of the meeting.

“The meeting was convened to formulate a broad-based strategy to fast-track the revitalization of the Kisumu Port,” notes Kinyua in the letter copied to principal secretaries Karanja Kibicho (Interior) and Esther Koimett (Transport).

Technical committee

“In that regard it was resolved that in order to ensure fast-tracked delivery of the project, a technical implementing committee under the leadership of the ministry of infrastructure, transport, housing, urban development & public works would be established.”

Kinyua reiterated the membership of the committee would comprise representation from Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Railways, state department of forestry, and the deputy director of the National Youth Service; as well as the deputy commissioner of prisons and the deputy county commissioner (Kisumu Sub-County).

“… You are requested to nominate your representatives to the technical committee and forward the name s tonight the principal Secretary for transport on or before Tuesday, 18 June 2019,” Kinyua’s letter dated 17 October concluded.


A source privy to the details of how the project was undertaken has explained to Kurunzi that such projects are not the responsibility of the state agencies that may end up as users, adding that any monies spent by the parastatals is reimbursed from the Consolidated Fund.

“Inter-agency projects are national government undertakings. Parastatals only get involved because they are part of the larger team but they do not bear exclusive responsibility for success or failure,” says the source.

“So there isn’t any nexus in someone trying to nail it down to an individual of this or that agency as it is being attempted (against KPA).”

Membership of the inter-agency technical committee:

  • Dr D G Hunda – SDoT
  • Mr Philip Maina – KRC
  • Ms Beatrice Nyamoita – SDoT
  • Arch. Dr Daniel Manduku – KPA
  • Eng. Tobias Otieno – KR
  • Ms Wendy Maina – SDoT
  • Mr Sammy Wakiaga – Private sector

The IATC team was required to report (on a weekly basis) the inter-ministerial committee of principal secretaries chaired by PS transport with the main task of delivering a fully functional Kisumu port and a ancillary piers at Homa Bay, Kendu Bay and Mbita to handle containerized cargo.

A project implementation team, based in Kisumu, was constituted and it was led by Tobias Otieno (KRC). Others member said included Yobesh Oyaro (KPA team leader), William Tenay, Charles Kitur, Javan Wanga (all from KPA), Michael Mutogoh (KRC), Isaac Ngugi (LVEMP) and Edward Odero (Private sector).

The delivery date for the team was set as 15 August 2019.

KSh2.4 billion was allocated for the removal of the water hyacinth and installation of a hyacinth barrier within 30 days, preceded by environmental impact assessment report compilation and approval that was to be done within two weeks.

Other works that were to be undertaken included dredging, concrete works and rehabilitation of ancillary infrastructure to “advance the sustainable blue economy nationally and within the East Africa region”.

Three phases


“Through Kenya and Uganda and East Africa at large, it is envisaged that reactivating of Kisumu Port will open up the East Africa countries for trade. Goods and cargo fed to Kisumu port through the railway will find their way to Jinja, Mwanza, Port Bell, Kawuku and Bukoba,” noted the TORs document for the ITAC.

The project would be implemented in three phases at a cost of KSh65 billion, through support from African Development Bank, the World Bank and the European Union, among others.

The upgraded port would have a docking capacity of 11 ships at the same time (each with a capacity of 3,000 tones), a container docking capacity of 4,000 units and an estimated container handling capacity of 1,000 units.


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