23-09-2019 by Freddie del Curatolo
Malindi International Airport: perhaps only the President of the Republic of Kenya can, with a direct commitment on behalf of the Government, solve the long and painful situation that does not allow an entire region, the County of Kilifi, to have a real international airport.
Even more paradoxical, considering that destinations such as Malindi and especially Watamu, but also Kilifi and Mambrui itself, have among the main sources of income and employment for the local population Tourism.
There was a moment, two years ago, when objectively the situation seemed to be able to be resolved: the Government's allocations to compensate those who live in the areas destined for the enlargement and extension of the airport runway had arrived and the first payments had been made.
Then, as often happens, everything stopped for several reasons: lawsuits ended at the Court of Malindi for the amount of refunds, checks for the validity of property titles, illegal residents to be relocated, etc.. It is easy to point the finger clearly at the politicians who, however, in recent years have had their faults, especially that of not taking responsibility in the first person, hoping that it is another (and perhaps another side) to carry out the crusade. Nothing new, and it is certainly not an exclusive Kenyan. To be pointed out as "clearing people" certainly takes away popularity...and votes.
Only the President, at his second and last consecutive term in view of the next elections (2022), who has always been a supporter in words of the Malindi International Airport and a friend of many Italians between Nairobi and Malindi, could unblock the situation.
It is no coincidence that in the coming weeks Kenyatta is expected in Kilifi for a meeting with Governor Amason Kingi on the issue.
To confirm this was the Minister of Tourism of the County, Nahida Mohamed Athman, last Wednesday during the meeting of the sector in Malindi.
"We are confident about the airport issue, which we know is a priority of the County to relaunch Tourism - said the Minister - to move will be President Kenyatta in person, expected in Kilifi in the coming weeks for an important conversation with the Governor to unblock the situation.
There is no longer only the question of extending the runway, 1.6 km more to allow the boeing to land and take off from Malindi, arriving directly from international destinations, but also that of a "discharge" area for refueling, a space that was obviously not considered in the past. This is confirmed by the Director of the airport, Mohamed Karama. Also to create this space there will be to confiscate land and compensate the owners and it is feared that, as in the case of other land, it will take extra time (and any penalty shootouts). Fortunately, some adaptation work has already been done: at the level of the customs and immigration office everything is ready, as well as for the luggage roller, the evening lighting and the control tower, which are already up to standard to open the boeings.
President, please take care of the rest.
As malindikenya. net had announced a few weeks ago, a new low-cost airline decided to open the Nairobi-Malindi route and also to promote tourism and business between Malindi and Lamu.
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