All roads lead to Narok as Uhuru set to presides over Madaraka fete
By Steve Mkawale and Robert Kiplagat
| June 1st 2019
President Uhuru Kenyatta will today lead the nation in celebrations to mark the 56th Madaraka Day at Narok Stadium, Narok County.
The day is celebrated annually to mark the historic day in 1963 when Kenya attained internal self-rule from the British colonial powers.
This year’s celebrations in Narok County are in line with President Kenyatta’s directive on rotational hosting of national events by counties as a way of allowing more Kenyans to participate in the festivities.
Host Governor Samuel Tunai has welcomed all Kenyans to the county for the celebrations.
His administration has opened door to thousands of guests expected at the fete by allowing domestic tourists free access to the Maasai Mara Game Reserve known for the 8th Wonder of the World — the wildebeest migration.
“We are ready to welcome the President and his guests to Narok County… all is well set and we look forward to the big day,” Mr Tunai said on Friday.
The county is among devolved units that had been classified as marginalised in terms of development and one of the beneficiaries for the Equalisation Fund.
The fund is meant to uplift the counties to be at par with others that have realised development in the past successive regimes.
Narok has over the decades been lagging behind in education, infrastructural development and adversely affected by retrogressive cultures such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), early forced marriages and teenage pregnancies.
But since the onset of devolution in 2013, fortunes have turned around as the county under the Jubilee administration now boasts various impactful development.
From roads, electricity connectivity, water supply, sanitation and sporting facilities, Narok’s face seems to be changing for the better.
In the road network, the county has about 300 kilometres of new tarmac roads for the first time since independence. Notable flagship road projects in the county include the Sh2 billion 82-km Narok-Sekenani Gate road which was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in April 2017 and which is now at 80 per cent completion.
Other tarmac roads include Ololunga-Olmekenyu, Kilgoris-Shartuka, Esoit-Murkan, Emurua Dikir-Kabolecho-Olchobosei, Mogondo-Murkan, Chebunyo-Emurua Dikirr-Lolgorian-Kehancha and Mau Narok-Kisiriri-Nakuru roads which are under construction.
Governor Tunai revealed that approximately 5,982km have been constructed by both National and County Government among which the county has constructed a total of 6,484 kilometres.
In the county’s headquarters, Narok Town, the face has completely changed as street roads which were in dilapidated conditions are now being done and just within a month, the residents will have something to smile about as the dusty, muddy town roads are now recarpeted.
Among the 38km roads currently being done include Popong (2.5km), Mwamba/Total estates (2.5km), Narok Town-Lenana (6km), Government-University (13km) and Majengo/London estates which is 14km.
“As we seek to host this year’s historic Madaraka Day celebrations, I can say the fruits of good working relationship between the national and the county government have been felt by the people of Narok,” said Tunai.
The venue of the event, Narok Stadium which cost Sh300 million, had one pavilion but in the last one month, it has been upgraded and now has about 20 terraces around it with 10 gates.
This is a major boost to sporting activities in the county taking into consideration that Sofapaka Football Club, which plays in the Kenya Premier League (KPL), had chosen the stadium as its home but pulled out citing poor state of the facility.
“After the Madaraka Day event, our stadium will be a hot cake. I am sure we shall be having many clubs choosing to play their games here which is a major boost for us as a county,” said Ben Kariuki, County Sports Director.
During the celebrations, the county will have an opportunity to showcase its rich Maasai culture and tourism potential. The governor said Maasai have a rich and unique culture that other communities can learn from.
“We want all people to enjoy the rich culture of the Maasai people and animal heritage and they can catch a glimpse of it during this celebration,” said the county chief.
On health, the county recently received a huge boost after the National Government constructed a Sh350 million 10-bed capacity Intensive Care Unit(ICU) and High Dependency Unit (HDU) facilities at the Narok County Referral Hospital.
The county also recently signed an MoU with the National Hospital Insurance Fund (NHIF), under the Universal Healthcare programme which had more than 15,000 households registered.
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