Security concerns suspected behind president Kenyatta’s cancellation of planned trip to Lamu.

Security concerns suspected behind president Kenyatta’s cancellation of planned trip to Lamu.

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Former president Mwai Kibaki with other regional heads at the launch of the LAPSSET project in 2012. Photo: www.lapsset.go.ke

A security meeting held in Lamu last Thursday could have prompted the cancellation of a planned trip to the Island this weekend by president Uhuru Kenyatta, Baraka FM has learnt.

President Kenyatta was to lead a delegation of other East African heads of state early next week in the commissioning of the construction of the first three out of 32 berths, expected to be put up at the new Lamu port, which is part of the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport corridor (LAPSSET) project.

The trip was however abruptly postponed by a month with top officials at LAPSSET, equally surprised by the change of plans, saying they had not received any explanation for the cancellation.

“We were through with all our preparations and were looking forward to receiving him next week. We are shocked but we know there were reasons for that,” an official who requested anonymity, told Baraka FM.

The official said he had received communication about the cancellation, from the acting Lamu county commissioner, Frederick Ndambuki, who had not given any reasons.

Lamu county has been on the spotlight following last year’s al shabaab attacks in the county which left at least 60 people dead, and planned presidential visits to the county have been cancelled a few times since then.

So abrupt was the cancellation that even some local senior police officers claimed they were not aware.

“All I know is that the president is coming and if there is any change of plan, then I am yet to be notified,” a top ranking police boss in the area, said.

Sources told Baraka FM that the trip was cancelled after a meeting between all county security chiefs and the Kenya Airports Authority officials at the Manda airstrip, but details of the meeting were not clear.

In Mombasa, the Kenya Ports Authority, which had organised to transport journalists to cover the commissioning ceremony in Lamu , informed the journalists of the cancellations late Thursday.

Other local leaders did not however read much into the cancellation, arguing that the president had a busy schedule, with occasional abrupt priorities that called for change of plans.

Some residents also revealed that locals whose land had been acquired for the LAPSSET project but had not yet been compensated, may have been planning protests during the presidential function, prompting its cancellation.

Speculation is now rife as to when the multi-billion port project will eventually begin, following constant postponement of its commissioning.

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