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Uhuru tour: All set for the launch of two mineral factories in Western

NATIONAL
By Brian Kisanji | July 28th 2021

Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo and Petroleum CS John Munyes inspecting the proposed site of a granite processing plant at Mungoma, Luanda, Vihiga, on July 27, 2021. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

Plans are in top gear for the launch of multi-million granite and gold processing and refinery factories in Vihiga and Kakamega counties.

Petroleum and Mining Cabinet Secretary John Munyes toured both sites on Tuesday ahead of President Uhuru Kenyatta's planned visit. He was accompanied by governors Wycliffe Oparanya (Kakamega) and Wilbur Ottichilo (Vihiga).

According to Mr Munyes, the national government will implement the projects in collaboration with private investors.

At least 10-acre land in Iguhu in Ikolomani Sub County has been acquired for the construction of the gold mining and processing factory with the same size of land earmarked for the granite factory at Buyangu in Luanda Sub-county.

Munyes disclosed that an Italian investor was ready to pump money into the granite factory in Vihiga and another one in the gold plant.

The CS could not diverge the amount of money the two investors will inject into the mega projects touted as a game-changer to the economic growth of the two counties.

“We are currently finishing up the paperwork in the deal with the Italian investor ahead of the head of state's tour," said Munyes.

Petroleum CS John Munyes and Governor Dr Wilber Ottichilo speak after inspecting the proposed site of a granite processing plant at Mungoma in Luanda, Vihiga. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

President Kenyatta is expected to launch at least 15 key projects during his tour of the region, including water projects, roads and issuing two universities with full charters.

Munyes said the Jubilee administration was committed to initiating and completing key economic development projects in Western before the 2022 General Election.

According to, Munyes, the president was keen on building his legacy around the Big Four Agenda whose pillars are manufacturing, food security, universal healthcare and affordable housing.

“The president's visit will be to launch infrastructural projects that would open up Vihiga County and the region, in the process attracting both local and foreign investors for sustainable economic growth and development,” said Munyes.

Building stones has been costly to Kenyans and the granite factory aims to produce affordable material in the local market.

Vihiga County is covered with almost 30 per cent of rocks that will be used as the raw materials for the factory.

The much-hyped visit by the Head of the State has received criticism from locals, who term the project launch as a mere public relations stunt by the national government.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and ANC Party Leader Musalia Mudavadi at Kabarak, February 13, 2020. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Those interviewed claimed the projects were previously launched by the government but never kicked off as planned.

In 2018, Ottichilo announced the granite project was to cost Sh50 million and was to be undertaken by the county government in collaboration with the Ministry of Petroleum and Mining and was expected to be completed by June 2019.

"This time, we are optimistic that we will have this factory running in the next one year as it has the President's blessings," said the governor.

Ottichilo said apart from the granite factory, he hopes the president will make a major announcement on the completion of the Sh1.8 billion Belgium-funded Vihiga Cluster Water Project.

Governor Oparanya said the gold refinery factory will empower local artisanal miners and boost the economy of Western by creating jobs and enhancing cash flow in the region.

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