Race to elevate Eldoret town to city status gathers momentum

RIFT VALLEY |
Aerial view of Eldoret town in Uasin Gishu county on Saturday May 8, 2021. [Christopher Kipsang, Standard]

The journey towards elevation of North Rift’s agricultural town, Eldoret, to city status is gathering pace, barely six months after the Senate approved Nakuru’s bid.

In September 2017, a Cabinet sitting approved the elevation of Nakuru and Eldoret municipalities to cities. The decision will bring the number of cities in the country to five, including Nairobi, Kisumu and Mombasa.

Since 2018, Eldoret has embarked on fixing the streets and sewerage systems that had been abandoned for years. Uasin Gishu County contributed at least Sh100 million, as the town also received funding from the World Bank through the Kenya Urban Support Program (KUSP) in a bid to meet the threshold for elevation to a city.

Some of the infrastructure projects the county government has been undertaking include expanding the sewerage system, which was installed in the 1960s when the town population was barely 10,000 people, improving the drainage system, and procuring a new dumping site.

According to Governor Jackson Mandago, with the new infrastructure projects, Eldoret is likely to become the country’s fifth city after Nakuru. In June, the Senate adopted a report by the Devolution and Intergovernmental Relations Committee, paving the way for Nakuru to become the fourth city in Kenya.

The county government said the infrastructural projects are aimed at positioning Eldoret as the North Rift and Western regions' commercial hub.

A municipality board was inaugurated in August 2019, as the town christened the 'City of Champions' set its sights on achieving city status.

Municipal Board chairman Julius Kitur said the expansion and upgrading of nearly 10 streets will end perennial traffic jams in the fast-growing town.

Under the proposed city plan, the upgrade of roads leading traffic out of town via Unga Millers and through Eldoret Railway Station, back to Oloo Street towards Coca Cola and back to Iten Road through Ardhi House is complete.

According to a project implementation plan by the municipality board, the recently completed road projects also pass through Dola to Moi Girls High School.

Mr Kitur said the county government had made plans to meet additional demand for water that usually comes along with a fast-growing population.

“Water and sewerage channels are concurrent with these road works. Major water channels, which include the installation of wider high-pressure pipes, are also ongoing across streets in town,” he said.

The chairman said a new dam has been established near the Eldoret Airport. It will be expected to supply water to Langas, Kapseret, Kipkenyo and neighbouring estates.

Deputy Governor Daniel Chemno said the proposed city’s proximity to Uganda will make it a strategic business hub after the expansion is completed.

“Uganda as a neighbouring country has been a great trading and sporting partner of Uasin Gishu County, and we are exchanging best practices in urban development," Mr Chemno said.

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