Lamu Woman Rep wants jetties built to accommodate disabled persons

Photo of a section of the Lamu customs jetty closed off in March after it collapsed. The government is yet to commence rehabilitation of the Lamu jetties PHOTO: NATASHA NEMA.

Lamu, KENYA: Lamu Woman rep Ruweida Obbo has appealed to the national government to reconstruct the more than 10 jetties in Lamu so as to accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities.

Obbo noted that not a single jetty in the region took into consideration the fact that disabled persons would also need to use them making their use of the entry points extremely challenging.

Speaking in Lamu on Tuesday, Obbo said its unfortunate that many of the disabled persons have had to bribe individuals to help them use the jetties while many others facing extreme difficulties whenever they attempt doing it on their own.

The jetties are the only entry and exit points into and out of Lamu town and other adjacent islands.

The jetties include the six main ones that are the Mokowe customs jetty, Manda airport jetty and Lamu island customs jetty in Lamu West.

There is also the Mtangawanda, Kizuke and Jetty ya Ngo’ombe jetties in Lamu East.

We also have numerous other smaller jetties interlinking various islands and villages in the counties.

“Take a look around Lamu, not a single jetty can be used by a disabled person whether blind, crippled or anything. These people are part of the society and as such amenities like jetties must be in such a way that they can also easily use them. The government should reconstruct the jetties to solve this,” said Obbo.

The woman rep’s sentiments come in the wake of plights by locals and leaders for the government to also renovate all the jetties which are currently in a dilapidated condition.

The Six major entry jetties in Lamu County especially risk closure due to poor maintenance and rehabilitation.

Maintenance of the jetties is the mandate of the Ministry of Transport and Public Works.

The six are currently in their worst state after the metals which were used for their construction corroded with rust and collapsed leaving travelers with the now unsafe unsteady stamps.

Travelers coming in and out Lamu Island and the other islands are literally putting their lives at risk each time they use the now dysfunctional jetties.

Boat operators in Lamu town have had to forcefully shut down a section of the Lamu customs jetty after it collapsed and remained unattended to hence posing a danger to users.

The government has equally been criticized for using the cheap and easily corrodible material in constructing the jetties when in fact such amenities require tougher and costly materials.

Chief Structural Engineer in the State Department of Public Works Hillary Nyaanga has numerously stated that the government will spend close to sh.1 Billion to renovate and build afresh four key jetties in the county.

The Mokowe and Lamu customs jetties together with the Manda and Mtangawanda jetties will all be pulled down and built afresh according to Nyaanga.

He said the jetties will be given a modern facelift and will also be expanded to enable for many users to ply them at the same time.

Nyaanga says as per their assessment so far, building the Mokowe Customs jetty afresh will cost about Sh.400 Million while the Manda airport jetty will cost around Sh.20 Million, a cost that also covers expansion of the jetty.

“We shall soon start work on the Mokowe, Lamu, Manda and Mtangawanda jetties. That exercise will cost close to Sh.1 Billion since we intend to build them afresh. We feel renovation will not help the situation,” said Nyaanga.