New dawn for Nakuru as ‘flamingo town’ is awarded city charter

RIFT VALLEY |

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday broke protocol during the conferment of city status to Nakuru Municipality when he took the microphone immediately after the opening prayers and asked the security officers manning the gates to let residents in.

Initially, the event at Nyayo Gardens had a select number of people and the venue was highly guarded. 

But after Apostle Kimani William concluded the opening prayers, Uhuru directed the General Service Unit (GSU) officers who were guarding the venue to open the gates.

“Allow the people to get in. This is their city. Don’t bar them from getting in,” said Uhuru to the wild cheers of the residents as they scrambled for every available space at the refurbished garden in the heart of the city.

The event began with the president reading a citation to officially elevate the town to a city before handing over instruments of power to Governor Lee Kinyanjui

“Nakuru now follows Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu to be our fourth city. With this status, it becomes attractive to do business and will create jobs for the residents.

“Our youth will not be idle because of the development we attain by building cities,” said Uhuru. 

The president underscored the significance of the new city in the country’s politics, agriculture and development reiterating his commitment to support its growth. 

“Nakuru is a special city with a rich history. Aside from the colonial history, our politics since independence have always started here,” said Uhuru. 

He urged communities in the city and the county to maintain peace as the country gears up for the General Election. 

“When Nakuru is peaceful, the entire country is peaceful. We expect Nakuru to be the source of peace that will spread to the rest of the country and be the foundation for our national development,” said Uhuru. 

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said that various government projects were underway to make the new city more attractive to investors and tourists. 

“Works on the Lanet Airport which entails extending the current runway from 1.1km to 1.7km will be complete by June next year,” said Macharia.

Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga described the day as historical for the country saying the elevation was long overdue. 

“Kisumu became a city 20 years ago and Nakuru should have attained the same almost immediately,” said Raila. 

He reiterated the significance of the new city in supplying food and industrial products. 

He regretted that most industries in the city and other parts of the country had closed down and urged the government to resuscitate them. 

“We recognise the efforts made to improve infrastructure in the new city including the new highway, upcoming by-passes and the need to expand the sewerage system to make Nakuru a better place to live in,” said Raila. 

Baringo Senator Gideon Moi termed the elevation as a great milestone towards the economic development of the region. 

“There will be economic prosperity in this region by just having this new city. It is time we now take advantage of natural resources such as geothermal for such purposes,” said Gideon. 

He underscored the need for the local communities to maintain peace as a way of marketing the city internationally to attract investors and tourists. 

“Nakuru is home for the 42 tribes that have lived as one. We urge them to maintain that peace.

“As we go to the 2022 polls let us remain united. We know where we are headed and noise from outside should not distract us,” said Gideon, as he congratulated the people of Nakuru and Governor Lee Kinyanjui (pictured).

Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka also sent congratulatory messages to the residents. 

“As a Senate, we were satisfied that Nakuru meets the threshold to be recognised as a city,” said Lusaka. 

Governor Lee Kinyanjui, who initiated the process in 2018, described the award of a city charter as an answered prayer for the residents. 

“Our prayers have not been in vain. Since the Constitution of Kenya in 2010, we are the first to get the city status. This is a privilege we can’t ignore,” said Kinyanjui. 

Kinyanjui lauded senators who backed the process. 

Council of Governors chair Martin Wambora said the transformation was a great achievement for the county leadership. 

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