Race against time as Eldoret prepares for devolution conference

When former Defence CS Eugene Wamalwa and then CoG Chair Martin Wambora presented Best County performing Award to Nakuru County representatives during the 7th Annual Devolution Conference in Makueni on November 26, 2021. [Boniface Okendo,Standard]

It is a race against time as the Uasin Gishu County administration prepares to host the 2023 Devolution Conference next month.

From putting up modern shoe-shining shades to enhancing street lighting and road upgrades within the town, Eldoret town, North Rift’s largest commercial hub is getting spruced up for the eighth Devolution Conference scheduled for August 15 to 19.

The bi-annual event will be staged at the Eldoret Sports Club with more than 10,000 visitors among them governors from the 47 counties and their staffers, top State officials and exhibitors are expected.

A facelift at Uasin Gishu County offices where Governor Jonathan Bii will host dignitaries was still underway by yesterday. A new gate is still under construction.

Eldoret business community is upbeat with hoteliers readying their premises for the hundreds of participants. The host governor said the county is working closely with hoteliers and private investors to offer adequate accommodation for guests preparing to spend a week in the agricultural town.

He said technical teams drawn from his county and the Council of Governors (CoG) were jointly finalising preparations for the event. “We will host the entire event at the Eldoret Sports Club grounds and we will use Hill School grounds for parking. Adequate security arrangements have been made and the entire area will be lit,” Bii said during an inspection tour.

“We are now upgrading infrastructure in areas around the venue and within Eldoret Central Business District. We have also increased the number of stalls within the town for our business people to showcase their merchandise during the period.”

Among other strategies put in place for a seamless conference, Bii said Uasin Gishu is in talks with the neighbouring counties of Nandi, Elgeyo Marakwet and Trans Nzoia to prepare to accommodate guests who may wish to stay outside Eldoret town.

He said hoteliers and investors in the entertainment industry were sprucing up their premises as they prepare to welcome top county and State officials as well as investors who will be in Eldoret to showcase their businesses. The race to complete Kipchoge Keino’s Stadium which has stalled for years is on.

Governor Bii said North Rift counties will use the stadium to showcase its athletics prowess, with a sports competition expected to be staged.

Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba, his Principal Secretary (PS) Peter Tum and Youth Affairs PS Ismail Maalim toured Eldoret to inspect the fast-tracking of the Kipchoge Keino Stadium.

President William Ruto and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua are expected to grace the event. “The North Rift Economic Bloc counties have joined hands to host the event. We had our meeting two weeks ago and we put everything in order. We are doing this together,” Governor Bii added.

David Limo, a shoe shiner in Eldoret said the conference has birthed permanent shades. “The conference has come as a blessing. We have been undertaking our business in the open. We now have decent shades,” said Limo.

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