Kisumu County is the biggest beneficiary of the political goodwill between its leaders and the national government.
In the last three years, the national government and other development partners have brought about Sh8 billion to fund development projects in the county.
The commissioning of Sh350 million Jomo Kenyatta International Stadium in Kisumu on June 24 was the latest gift from the national government to the lakeside city.
Sports CS Amina Mohammed launched the 20,000-seater project, whose construction has already started, at Mamboleo Showground. It will become the third sports facility in Kisumu.
“President Kenyatta promised to build an international stadium in Kisumu that will serve all the Lake Region Economic Block and today (June 24) we are laying ground for the construction of this stadium. There is potential in Kisumu, with the region having produced iconic rugby, football and basketball players despite lack of infrastructure and sporting facilities,” Amina said during the commissioning.
The project is one of the many major investments in the town through the national government, at a time the city is revamping its image.
However, in this light, Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o credits his proactive policy as the secret behind the goodies from the national government.
He says with good planning, diplomatic charm and good connections in the corridors of power, the work is yet to peak.
“A clear policy is the secret. A lot of development partners want to be sure of what you stand for and how they can fit in. The national government is our major development partner as a county,” Nyong’o said.
He seems to have capitalised on the calm political environment created by the handshake between ODM leader Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta to push for more development projects.
“These developments, be they from international donors or the national government, don’t come by themselves. One must knock on doors and prove commitment. You must seduce these donors and assure them of commitment in using their funds well,” Nyong’o said.
Just within two years, Kisumu has seen the rehabilitation of Kisumu port at a cost of over Sh3 billion, the completion of a Sh1.7 billion oil jetty, and the construction of an ultra-modern Uhuru market at a cost of Sh350 million.
The market project is a joint venture between the national and the county governments and will accommodate over 10,000 traders.
Currently, there is ongoing public participation ahead of the construction of Sh25 billion Koru-Soin Dam, which has been touted as the final solution to the floods in Kano plains.
Already, the government has advertised for tenders for the work which is set to start next month.
Part of the Sh4.5 billion Kenya Urban Project (KUP), being funded by the national government through a loan from the French Development Agency (AFD) which had stalled, has also started.
Some of the projects under this programme which have been completed in the last five months include construction of Impala-Dunga road at a cost of Sh301.3 million, construction of Kaloleni Estate roads at Sh73 million and Lumumba sub-County Hospital at Sh113.9 million.
Some of the projects nearing completion are Car Wash-Sije Road at Sh97.1 million, Nyamasaria KFW Primary School-Sije Road at Sh99.4 million and Kisumu Social Centre at Sh63.2 million.
Otonglo and Kibuye markets have since been fenced off and works are expected to start. They will cost Sh80 million and Sh350 million respectively.
The county also benefited from the Sh800 million Universal Health Coverage Programme which was piloted in five counties.
In the pipeline are Sh3 billion Nakuru-Kisumu Railway line and Sh2 billion Industrial Park set for establishment in Muhoroni, with land having been identified.
According to Nyando MP Jared Okello, close relationship between the national government and Kisumu County Government, nurtured by the March 2018 Handshake, is responsible for the increased investment in the area.
He, however, noted that President Kenyatta is implementing the memorandum which was presented to him by Nyanza leaders during a meeting at the Kisumu State Lodge in December 2018.