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26 January 2012
Newly independent Republic of South Sudan's decision to build an oil pipeline to Lamu is a wake-up call for Kenya.
It is time Kenya speeded up the building of the ambitious Lamu port, given its huge economic potential. Critics of the proposed port posit that it remains on paper because various government ministries and individuals jostle for kickbacks.
Kenya should seize the goodwill showed by the landlocked South Sudan that recently shut down oil production on claims that Khartoum was confiscating its oil, citing unpaid transport fees.
The memorandum of understanding to build an oil pipeline to Lamu should be turned into reality. But Kenyan authorities must be alive to the fact that they have their own obligation to meet.
Kenya has to ensure that security is maintained in the northern frontier where the pipeline will pass through. The arid pastoralist areas are prone to cattle rustling and inter-tribal skirmishes, which is a major threat to such an infrastructure.
In most cases, the government reacts after the clashes instead of being proactive with.
But with this kind of massive investment on the pipeline, late reaction will not be an option.