Boon for Murang'a villages as they eye municipality status

An aerial view of a section of Kenol town in Muranga. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Eyes are set on small towns in the Central Kenya region that will have their status upgraded to municipalities.

Leadership in the five counties is looking at the areas that have the potential for establishing municipalities from the market centres with an interest to spur growth.

Universities and colleges are among the institutions set to occupy space in the towns, with local investors urged to construct hostels for students and residences for lecturers.

However, it will be a tall order for the towns to attract investors as most parcels of land are registered in freehold instead of under leasehold titles.

As the county assemblies are deliberating on the boundaries of the municipalities among other requirements towns, the locals are strategising on those to get appointments to serve on the boards with night meetings taking centre stage.

In Murang’a County, Kenol and Kangari which have  been among the 15 market centres that were proposed at the sub-counties have been endorsed for the municipal charter.

The Vice Chairman of Murang’a Municipal Board James Waweru said the World Bank supported the county in establishing infrastructure in the towns.

“In Murang’a town, we have many roads done by Kenya Urban Roads Authority (Kura) which have opened the areas and attracted investors,” said Waweru.

Kimorori/Wempa MCA Elizabeth Mwangi says Kenol has been ideal for the status owing to its locations and land for expansion.

“Located at the beginning of Kenol- Sagana- Marwa dual carriage, the new status will see Kenol grow into a commercial hub in the Mt Kenya region,” said Ms Mwangi.

Kangari MCA Moses Mirara says upgrading Kangari to municipal status has been long overdue, as it is surrounded by four tea factories of Makomboki, Ikumbu, Nduti and Gacharage.

The town, Mirara said, has been growing fast attracting commercial banks and Sacco owing to the influx of people willing to do business.

“Kangari is a household name as it has attracted business people from Githurai, Thika among other towns,” said Mirara adding that it also neighbours the Aberdare Forest.

According to Murang’a County Assembly Governance Committee Chairman Moses Muchiri, the assembly has formulated a committee that will guide the elevation of the two towns to the new status.

“Murang’a town was elevated to the status in 2019 and its management has been handed the responsibility to guide on the establishment of Kenol and Kangema municipalities,” said Muchiri.

In Laikipia county, those upgraded to municipal status are Nanyuki and Rumuruti which have attracted hundreds of investors.

According to County Secretary Koinange Wahome, Nyahururu town has also been proposed for the upgrading programme.

Rumuruti, he said,  is the ‘new kid on the block’ as it has ample land for expansion as it is the gazette headquarters for Laikipia County.

“We have land earmarked for establishing industrial parks for aggregation. A new level six hospital and two universities will be established in the town,” said Mr Koinange.

He added Laikipia and PCEA universities are among the educational institutions that have approached the government for space in Rumuruti Municipality.

In Kiambu, there are 12 municipalities with Thika proposed to be upgraded to an industrial smart city after being a municipality for a long.

New municipalities are  Githunguri, Kabete, Lari, Juja, Gatundu and Githurai,  which have been added to the old towns of  Kiambu, Limuru, Ruiru, Kikuyu and Karuri.

Kiambu eyes getting Sh4 billion to facilitate establishing infrastructure in the municipalities.