Nakuru to be declared a city on Wednesday

President Uhuru Kenyatta will this Wednesday grant Nakuru a city charter, five months after the Senate approved the elevation of the municipality.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui on Saturday said the town will finally receive the charter after a four-year wait.

“I am delighted to inform the people of Nakuru that the municipality will formally be declared a city on December 1. The long journey is finally coming to an end,” he said.

Senators voted to adopt a report by the House Devolution and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, paving way for Nakuru to become the fourth city in the country. The others are Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.

Lack of clear guidelines in the Urban Areas and Cities Act 2011 delayed the elevation of the municipality. An inter-agency committee had also prepared a report similar to the one that was developed by a Nakuru County Assembly ad-hoc committee in 2019.

The Urban Areas and Cities Act 2011 provides for the procedure on the establishment of various categories of urban areas, their management and functions, but there are no guidelines for elevating municipalities to cities.

While a town needs a population of at least 250,000 people, Nakuru’s stands at 367,183. The committee also established that the revenue generated in the past three financial years demonstrated the capacity of Nakuru to stand on its own.

Mr Kinyanjui said the elevation would open up the region for more opportunities.

“This is a dream that has been realised. I now roll up my sleeves to make Nakuru the best city in Kenya. We have various projects that will restore the glory of Nakuru,” he said.

The county boss has allayed fears that the city will lead to high taxes, land rates and rent, saying his administration will make its decisions based on the needs of the residents and will ensure regular public participation.

“The county government is expected to improve the planning of the town, streamline garbage disposal, address the housing challenge, street lighting, roads and infrastructure, traffic jams among other things key to a city,” said Mr James Michoma, a physical planning expert.

Bondeni slum is set to undergo a major facelift after the government embarked on the construction of a modern housing project. The State is constructing 605 units at a cost of Sh2 billion.

Cities generally have extensive systems for housing, transportation, sanitation, water and sanitation, street lighting, proper drainage systems, transport, health services, land use and communication.

The chairman of Nakuru Tourism Association, Mr David Mwangi, said the city status will unlock the region’s untapped economic fortunes.

“Nakuru  will attract more investors. There will be more infrastructural projects. It will be a game changer to the business community as it will open up Nakuru for major investments,” he said.

Mr Daniel Kimani, a governance expert, said the city will attract more funding from the national government and development partners.

“As a city, Nakuru will benefit from extra funds from donors, development partners and the national government. The funding will promote development in the city,” he said.

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