Nyanza gears up for development windfall worth billions as Ruto concludes trip

President William Ruto shares a hearty moment with Siaya Senator Oburu Oginga (left) at Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University in Bondo on January 14, 2023. [Collins Oduor, Standard]

Nyanza is gearing up for a development windfall to the tune of billions that could transform its economic trajectory as President William Ruto concluded his two-day working tour of the region.

And if all goes according to the government's plan, the region's leaders will be smiling back to voters in 2027 with a report card of delivered projects after presenting to the president ambitious projects they want the government to help execute.

The president and his deputy Rigathi Gachagua's ultimate development plan also signalled the start of a long-held dream of firmly luring Nyanza into their vote basket ahead of the next polls.

In his last session in Siaya, the president told the region that he would fast-track the completion of the projects that were flouted during his visit.

He told the region not to wait for another government in what appeared to be a subtle call for the region to forget dislodging him from the seat in 2027 as he rallied them to back his initiatives.

"Do not wait for another government. This is the government. Let us plan well and work together and move together," said the president.

In Siaya, Kisumu and Homa Bay, area leaders presented a list of projects they hope the president will deliver for the region even as the president also listed his own plans for the region while embracing the proposals.

He held closed-door meetings with leaders from the region to discuss projects and the areas of focus that his administration should consider a priority in the next five years to shape Nyanza as an economic powerhouse.

In Siaya, the president announced plans by his government to invest in infrastructure, water, agriculture and trade to transform the lives of the people.

At the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University, the president commissioned the blue economy research hub, which has been tipped to transform the exploitation of the blue economy through research.

"Scientific research and innovation are central to enhancing the competitiveness of the Kenyan economy and empowering our youth through access to both skills and opportunities," said Ruto.

Leaders led by Siaya Governor James Orengo fronted several projects to the president, including reviving fisheries at Luanda Kotieno as well as the completion of several road projects.

Orengo said that they asked the president to deliver a number of projects to the region in partnership with the devolved unit.

Among the project windfall that Siaya received are a pledge to invest in a water project to serve residents of Siaya and Bondo, completion of all stalled road projects which the president said would start in the next one month.

The president said that contractors would be on site in the next one month and described the road projects as crucial in opening the economy.

He said the government would give an additional Sh370 million to connect more homes in Siaya and Bondo with to water. A similar plan to increase the number of people connected to the electricity from the current 40 per cent.

The president said his administration would give the county 20 tractors to boost crop cultivation.

On Friday evening, the president met leaders at Kisumu State Lodge. The leaders urged him to fast track the completion of the construction of MV Uhuru II, revival of the port, the establishment of Special Economic Zones in Muhoroni, revival of the sugar industry, transformation of the Lakefront as well as completion of the Kakamega-Kisumu Highway and the Chemelil Mamboleo road whose construction has stalled.

The leaders also urged him to fast track the completion of the Sh1.3 billion Ahero interchange road which was started in 2017.

The construction of the Sh25 billion Koru-Soin dam was also flouted to the president.