KIAMBU: There is a feel good factor among Gatundu South residents and leaders. The constituency is at the centre of massive development projects worth billions of shillings rolled out by the national government after what residents term neglect by past regimes.
The constituency is the only one in history to produce two of Kenya’s four presidents – Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and his son Uhuru Kenyatta.
The two leaders also represented the constituency as Members of Parliament. One would therefore expect the constituency to be one of the most developed in the country.
The area has for years been under developed as manifested by poor road network, high poverty index and dwindling education standards.
This, however, is bound to change following massive development projects worth billions of shillings rolled out over the recent past.
Emmanuel Njuguna, a resident, said they are elated to see development taking place after many years of neglect. “Despite the country’s founding father having come from here, the area has always lagged behind in terms of development. But we are happy that we are now on the right path,” said Njuguna.
The region has been chosen to host Mama Ngina University, a public facility expected to start off as a constituent college of Moi University.
Speaking on an inspection tour, Moi University Vice-Chancellor Prof Richard Mibei said the institution’s main campus will be located at Ruburi Secondary School grounds, while the other two will be at Kiganjo Polytechnic and Mutomo Primary School.
A new technical training institute is also being built at a cost of Sh50 million in Ng’enda. Massive investment in the health sector is also underway. Gatundu District Hospital is undergoing a major expansion under a Sh800 million project launched by President Kenyatta in August 2013.
Under the Chinese-funded project, the hospital will get a new five-storey complex with a modern medical wing. The complex, which will be served by four elevators, will house outpatient services, an emergency department, 12 ICU beds, an 84 bed ward, a medical laboratory, a maternity unit, theater and several units of CT and X-ray scanners.
Earlier this year, constituents benefited from a project dubbed Stima Rahisi, where their houses were connected with electric power through a partnership between Kenya Power and the World Bank.
Under the programme, the World Bank gave Sh19,350, Kenya Power Sh11,970 while a home owner contributes a paltry 1,160 to have power connected to their homes. Kamau Migwi, the project coordinator, said about 5,000 residents have already benefited from the initiative. Another 15,000 households will be connected by the end of the project.
In Kinale forest, the construction of a half a billion Theta dam on a five-acre piece of land is in the final phases. Funded by the government through Athi Water and Services Board, the dam will hold 500,000 cubic meters of water.
Esther Njuguna, the county executive in-charge of water, said the dam will provide Kiambu residents with constant water supply.
Last year, Deputy President William Ruto opened a Sh312 million modern market in Gatundu town. The new market provides shades for more than 500 traders and another 100 in open-air space.
The Karina-Flyover road is also under construction. The road will link the area to Nairobi-Nakuru Highway.
In addition to these projects, the town recently welcomed a modern bus park, which has helped alleviate congestion. A new lands registry saves residents the hustle of traveling to Thika town for land matters.
The development projects have got leaders and residents talking and looking forward to a better future. They are optimistic that these projects will bring good tidings.
Ng’enda Ward Member of the County Assembly (MCA), Michael Kuria , said the region is now on the right path.
“Our people need development to improve their lives,” said Kuria.
The Chairperson of Gatundu South Pastors forum (Ng’enda chapter) Rev Mary Mambo, said residents are upbeat about the various development projects.
“The new developments projects will provide jobs to our youth. They also bring plenty of business opportunities,” she said.
But as residents look forward to a more developed constituency, a section of residents from the neighboring Gatundu North, Githunguri and Juja constituencies feel the area is being favoured.
“We feel discriminated and are concerned as to why all those mega projects are only being rolled out in Gatundu South. The government should treat all areas equally,” said Charles Kimani, a resident of Gatundu North.
An MP from Kiambu who spoke to The Standard on Sunday in confidence said they were also concerned with the special attention the constituency is enjoying from the government.
“That Gatundu South is being favoured in terms of development is not a secret. The other eleven constituencies feel left out and discriminated,” said the MP.
But Ndarugo Ward’s MCA Simon Komu dismissed claims of favouritism as unfounded.
“The government has rolled out massive projects on roads construction, universities, technical institutes and dams countrywide. The projects currently ongoing in the area are just a replica of what is going on throughout the country. People should stop peddling propaganda,” said Komu.
Kiambu County TNA coordinator Gladys Chania said there is nothing wrong with the area getting special treatment from the government.
She said the government is only trying to solve past injustices as the area had been neglected by past regimes.