City planners: Conditions towns must meet before elevation into cities

Other requirements are the availability of universities and international airports.

Omwenga who spoke in Eldoret during a meeting dubbed "Town and County Planning and Development Conference", said failure to meet these requirements has derailed plans to elevate many towns into cities.

TCPAK is a corporate body comprising town, county, country and regional urban planners whose preoccupation is the promotion of professional development, education, creation of public awareness, sustainable development, and conservation of the environment.

The conference, used to mark World Cities Day, has drawn participants from the national and county governments, and the private sector.

World Cities Day is an annual UN observance day held on October 31. It is organized by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, in coordination with each year's selected host city, to recognize the critical role of urban areas in achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

The day was first marked in 2014. This year's theme is, "Act Local to Go Global".

"Lack of resources and skilled manpower has derailed quests by many towns to be elevated to cities. We want to educate our people on why it takes time to upgrade a town," said Omwenga.

Omwenga lauded Uasin Gishu County for meeting the requirements that will see Eldoret town granted city status soon.

"The team here is happy with the efforts the county administration has made, fulfilling almost all the conditions to elevate Eldoret town," he said.

The county has rolled out a week-long public participation forum at Eldoret West multi-purpose hall to get views of residents and other stakeholders on plans to elevate the town into a city.

Five years ago, the county started sprucing up the town, fixing the streets and the sewerage system, as part of efforts to have Eldoret granted the new status with the devolved unit pumping in at least Sh100 million. More funding towards the project was provided by the World Bank through the Kenya Urban Support Programme.

During a Cabinet sitting in September 2017, Eldoret and Nakuru were among the towns approved for elevation into cities. The decision will bring the number of cities in Kenya to five, after Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.

During Mashujaa Day Celebrations at Central Primary School in Eldoret, area governor Jonathan Bii urged the national government and other stakeholders to support the quest to have Eldoret town elevated.

Bii said this would be one way of honouring international athletes most of whom hail from the region. "Eldoret town has made our country proud because a majority of the athletes come from here," Bii said.