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All systems go as Bungoma hosts Madaraka Day fete

 Senior military officers rehearse at Masinde Muliro Stadium, Bungoma, ahead of Madaraka Day celebrations. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

It’s all systems go as senior government officials concluded preparations for this year’s Madaraka Day celebrations scheduled for today in Bungoma.

It was a hive of activities at the refurbished Masinde Muliro Stadium as artists and the military finalised their rehearsals for today’s event.

Hoteliers and other service providers said they were optimistic they would record profits from the droves of visitors who have travelled to witness the fete.

President William Ruto arrived in the county on Thursday afternoon, and he is expected to lead the nation in celebrating the 61st Madaraka Day at the stadium.

Yesterday, Interior Principal Secretary Raymond Omollo was in Bungoma to assess progress. He said security has been beefed up in Bungoma town to ensure the event runs smoothly today.

Police officers indicated that the busy Malaba-Bungoma highway could be closed temporarily to avert congestion as the venue is located near the highway.

The stadium is expected to host a total of 12,700 people on the public terraces and 2,000 guests, including visiting presidents from neighbouring countries on the VIP pavilion.

Omollo said elaborate plans have been put in place to guarantee safety.

Yesterday, excited hotel owners in Bungoma town and its environs said they were recording booming business.

“This Madaraka Day celebrations came with a lot of positivity on our business which has been booming for the past few weeks and as it is, all hotels in Bungoma town have been fully booked,” said Cornelius Waswa, a hotel owner.

Bungoma Town has been receiving visitors from different parts of the country and those from Uganda who are eager to attend today’s event.

Hundreds of people flocked to the Masinde Muliro Stadium on Friday to witness rehearsals by dancers, artists, military officers, and disciplined forces.

The event has also seen major infrastructural development in Bungoma town. President Ruto, who has pitched tent in the region, spearheaded development activities ahead of the celebrations.

Speaking at Chwele grounds in Bungoma County on Friday, President Ruto said his government has made the decision to ensure the sugar sector in the Western region is revived.

“Just give me time, we are reforming the Nzoia Sugar factory,” said President Ruto.

The Head of State said he has directed that farmers and workers be paid their dues and bonuses as required.

“I have also directed that sugarcane farmers benefit from bonus at the end of the year, just like their coffee counterparts among others,” said President Ruto.

He asked locals to diversify on their farming activities to include coffee production, noting that the region was ideal for the growth of the cash crop.

At the same time, President Ruto said the government has prioritised the construction and expansion of dams to boost agricultural activities in the country.

Speaking during the commissioning of Kapkara Dam in Sirisia Constituency, Dr Ruto said the construction of dams remains key to the provision of water for domestic and irrigation purposes.

The president also addressed wananchi at Mayanja market, during the launch of tarmacking of the Mayanja-Sirisia-Mukhweya-Musese and Mukhweya-Kimkung roads in Kabuchai constituency.

Speaker of the National Assembly Moses Wetang’ula lauded Sirisia residents for coexisting peacefully with their counterparts across the Lwakhakha boder.

He urged those who have grabbed land meant for expansion of dams in Bungoma  to surrender or face stern action.

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