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Uasin Gishu: Ad hoc committees picked to oversee upgrade of townships

The six new Municipalities are Ziwa, Mois-Bridge, Turbo, Burnt Forest, Kesses and Moiben

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Uasin Gishu Governor with the Members of the six inaugurated Ad hoc committees

As the County of Eldoret prepares to receive a charter of conferment to city status in August this year, the County Administration has made yet another key step aimed at upgrading six of its townships into municipalities.

In his speech during an inauguration ceremony of the ad hoc committees, Governor Dr Jonathan Chelilim pointed out that the initiative marks a historic moment for the great county that will have a vital role to play in managing urban areas, aligning with one of the Nguzo Kumi objectives which is on sustainable urban development and enhanced governance.

The towns to be elevated into municipal status include Moi’s Bridge, Ziwa, Moiben, Turbo, Burnt Forest and Kesses.

“As committees, you will be tasked with collecting views according to the parameters set by the Kenya Urban and Cities Act of 2011 for the elevation of towns to municipalities, our administration is committed to planning our towns for the future correctly,” noted the Governor.

The sub-committees are tasked with carrying out considerations of urban planning, waste management, revenue enhancement, citizen service delivery, and the devolution of functions closer to the residents.

The governor emphasized that their focus is mainly on enhancing the municipalities, recognizing that as the towns grow, there is an urgent need for proper planning to accommodate future expansion.

“The Ad hoc committees present today will play a key role in determining whether our townships meet the criteria for elevation as we also look forward to the award of a charter for Eldoret to become a city,” he added.

Dr. Chelilim called on the committees to consider historical origins while renaming some places with undesirable names like Jua Kali and others.

“While seeking views from our residents and professionals, the committees will engage them as to whether they wish to retain names like Burnt Forest and Jua Kali or revisit the history of their regions,” alluded Dr. Chelilim.

He explained that The Urban Cities Act provides specific parameters that must be met, such as the population threshold, demand for municipal services and governance, economic viability, infrastructure and services, spatial planning, and public participation, which will be key guides for the committees.

Noting that there will be urban to rural migration upon the elevation of the town to city status, the governor underscored that programs expected to impact these municipalities include the Kenya Urban Support Program and the Kenya Informal Settlement Program, both set to benefit the residents.

“The elevation of a township to a city will mean that our residents will begin enjoying the privileges that come with it. As the population grows, reports indicate that the future will be urban, with a significant number of our residents shifting from our towns to our municipalities,” he noted.

He assured the members of his administration’s full support in the noble exercise, noting that the outcome will significantly impact the communities in terms of governance.

The County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Lands, Physical Planning, Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Janet Kosgei, noted that the committees are tasked to move swiftly and complete their assignments within a span of two months.

He commended the initiative which she said will play a crucial role in opening up opportunities ensuring good engagement with residents and bringing services closer to the people which will promote development at the grassroot level.

On his part, Roads and Public Works executive, Eng. Joseph Lagat said as a department they are ready to support your vision of the urban centres through good roads and transports systems.

In his remarks County Secretary, Edwin Bett indicated that there was an ad hoc committee to oversee the elevation of Eldoret municipality in to city status which worked with the department responsible for urban development in the county to ensure that the town had complied with the provisions of the law with regards to attainment of city status.

He added that, a similar process is also going to be undertaken for the conferment of the towns to municipal status in line with section 8 of the Urban Areas and Cities Act which gives directions on the procedures to become city and section 9 which gives directions on attainment of municipal status.

He further noted that the conferment of towns to municipal status is a developmental issue because those areas are going to be the decentralized units of the county government and it is going to attract funding for development from investors and other partners.

The chairman of the committee on lands and physical planning at the county assembly, Simat/Kapseret MCA, Moses Kebenei who was accompanied by his Housing and Urban Development counterpart, Race Course MCA Amos Kiptanui, noted that upgrading the status of the towns to municipalities will improve development of the towns.

“In terms of the benefits that come with municipalities, we as the assembly committee on land and physical planning we are going to give all the necessary support to the ad hoc committee and the executive, in terms of approval of the report at the county assembly,” noted the MCA.

“To the committee we congratulate you and believe that you are up to task while you will be discharging that mandate of preparing a report on municipality status as required by the law, this will save some of the towns which have been struggling in a way in terms of development and other benefits associated with the status,” Noted Kiptanui.

In his remarks, Eldoret Municipality Manager, Mr. Tito Koiyet lauded the move by the county administration which he said ushers in, a new phase to the county as it readies to receive city status.

“As we expect to receive the charter of conferment of Eldoret to city status in August, being the only municipality, this means we would have remained as a county without any other municipalities,” alluded Mr Koiyet.

KNA
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