Nakuru County Assembly members have warned against politicisation of plans to elevate the town to city status.
The matter is now in the hands of Senators after the assembly approved a report by an ad hoc committee charged with collecting views from residents and stakeholders.
“We can’t allow a few politicians who are interested in stealing the glory from the current administration. We are aware they want to put the plans on hold hoping to have it implemented when they shall take over governorship,” said Viwandani MCA Erick Gichuki. Politicians who opposed plans for the city status are Nakuru Senator Susan Kihika who is said to be eyeing the governorship, MPs Kimani Ngunjiri (Bahati), David Gikaria (Nakuru Town East) and Samuel Arama (Nakuru Town West).
“The MPs caucus and senator proposed deferment of conferment of city status for 10 years with reasons. Informal traders proposed an eight years delay while the business community sought fifteen years deferment,” the report read in part.
The ad hoc committee, in its report, however, indicated that majority of the issues raised by those who opposed the plans were being addressed.
The report was backed by two other reports by select committees that went for benchmarking to Nairobi and Kisumu cities. Lands and Physical Planning Committee Chairman Stephen Ngethe noted that Kisumu and Nairobi despite being declared cities years ago were still struggling with similar challenges.
Stakeholders raised concerns over Nakuru town’s transport network, congestion, drainage, disaster preparedness, health services and housing.
The ad hoc committee chaired by former Mayor John Kitilit indicated that the county government was in the process of actualising various proposals through budgetary allocations and donor funding.
On drainage, the committee reported that the county government had already started expansion of the same in the estates to curb flooding during rainy seasons.
“The Roads department has already constructed 3.7km of storm water drain in Kivumbini area. There are similar upcoming projects in the surrounding estates under the Kenya Urban Support Programme funded by World Bank,” the report read in part.
Poor drainage system has over the years forced families to vacate houses after storm water cut through the estates in the lower parts of the town.
On health, the report indicated that Nakuru County has four hospitals, five health centers and 18 dispensaries which were effectively delivering services to more than 300,000 people. “In addition to the facilities, the county government has 24 active ambulances and plans to procure ten more by the end of the 2019/2020 financial year. Plans to elevate Nakuru Level Five Hospital to Level Six are underway,” the committee said.
The political class had opposed the city status arguing that most residents were yet to get connected to clean water supply and sewer system. The report however indicated that the county government was in negotiations to get Sh6 billion loan from Germany to expand the sewer system coverage from 27 per cent to 60 per cent.
Governor Lee Kinyanjui in a recent interview Saturday Standard assured the residents that elevation of Nakuru town to city status would be gradual and in line with the economic growth.