What Nakuru’s elevation to city status means for the residents


An Aerial Shot of Nyahururu-Nakuru interchange at Kunste along the Nakuru - Nairobi Highway [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Hopes are high among Nakuru residents after the town attained city status yesterday when President Uhuru Kenyatta issued it with a charter.

Nakuru is now the country’s fourth city having gone through a rigorous legal process to attain the status.

According to Stella Karanja, the chair of Nakuru Municipal Board, residents have every reason to celebrate the town’s elevation.

“Being a city means improved service delivery to the residents. The city will now attract more funding to expand services such as water and sewerage systems,” said Karanja.

She added that the status will position the city among the world’s key tourism destinations that will lead to an economic boom, especially for the struggling tourism and hospitality sector.

“Investors in the hospitality industry should ready themselves by expanding their facilities for the anticipated tourism boom as we market the city in the region and globally,” said Karanja.

She said that though Nakuru is largely an agricultural city, there is a considerable industrial investment that has already been done and more investors have shown interest.

“Since the Senate approved its elevation, many industries have been established especially around Salgaa which was earmarked as an industrial zone.

“We have industrial parks coming up where more investments are being made,” said Karanja.

She added that the value of land in the outskirts of Nakuru Municipality is expected to appreciate as the boundaries for the city are reviewed.

“The city board shall soon write to the relevant bodies to allow it expand the boundaries currently limited to Nakuru Town West and Nakuru Town East,” said Karanja.

According to Peris Mbuthia, the chair of Kenya Association of Manufacturers, the new status will come with business opportunities which will be a win for the residents.

“There will be increased quality and quantity of goods supplied to the city. Consumers will have a variety to choose from and access the quality of goods they desire,” said Mbuthia.

She added that landowners at the periphery of the current municipal boundaries will greatly gain as the city outgrows its boundaries.

“Some of the businesses will move out of the city leading to urban growth of areas currently under-utilised. This will create more opportunities for landowners and investors in the real estate sector,” said Mbuthia.

While the elevation to city status translates to an increase in taxes and rates, Mbuthia said they hope that would not be the case for Nakuru. 

“We have enjoyed a good business environment under the current leadership. We are hoping there will be no increase in rates and taxes.

“Instead, we expect the county to enhance the collection of what it has not been collecting previously,” said Mbuthia.

She said out that with the increased investments, Nakuru residents stand to gain with the creation of more job opportunities.

“More industries will translate to more jobs which will attract migration into the city.

“As job seekers get the opportunities, investors will have a wide pool of human resources to hire and they will be skilled,” she said.

The increase in urban population is expected to put pressure on utilities such as water and power supply which Mbuthia said the government should be proactive in expanding.

“We have high hopes that the government will kickstart the stalled Itare dam project to supply homes and industries with sufficient water,” said Mbuthia.

She also urged the county government to enhance security structures to provide a safe environment for businesses and their clients.

“The city is set to get additional funding for infrastructural expansion, especially roads, which will go a long way in reducing congestion thereby reducing losses to businesses,” she said.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui said that his administration was considering short-term measures to increase water supply in the city to meet the anticipated demand.

“Some areas will be served by Chemususu dam as we wait for the Itare dam project to be complete.

“As an interim measure, we shall have more boreholes sunk and take measures aimed at reducing wastage in our systems,” said Kinyanjui.

He added that the county was in the process of making the city pedestrian-friendly by introducing walkways.

“We also intend to have CCTV cameras installed on the streets as a security measure to track criminals who may take advantage of the increased human traffic,” said Kinyanjui.

He added that the benefits for the city status will spill over to the surrounding urban areas whose status will be upgraded.

“We are in the process of upgrading Molo and Gilgil towns to municipalities. This will translate to increased funding to the areas for infrastructural improvements,” said Kinyanjui.

He underscored the impact of the new status on rural areas noting that a market for agricultural produce will spur economic growth.

“The farmers will now have a wide market for their produce in the urban areas as the population grows. Proceeds from their activities will go a long way in changing the quality of life,” said Kinyanjui.

Nakuru County Assembly Speaker Joel Kairu said the ward representatives are ready to come up with relevant legislation to facilitate the improvements.

“We also take pride in the new status,” said Kairu.

“The county administration has our goodwill to support plans for the city and the upcoming municipalities and spread the benefits.”

Related Topics

Nakuru Nakuru City