The Uasin Gishu Fire Fighting section under the department of roads, transport, energy, and public works continues to remain the leading entity in the North Rift region and parts of Western Kenya.
The team has been hailed for its swift response to serious distress calls and inspections of safety standards to ensure safety and reduce fire incidents.
Under the leadership of the outgoing Governor Jackson Mandago, the department has 53 trained officers and has acquired five fire engines, two rapid intervention vehicles, two ambulances, three water bowsers, and one turntable ladder, as well as a rescue van, trolley, and a fire fighting foam vehicle, appliances that have greatly facilitated humanitarian services.
To ensure residents of Eldoret are sensitized on fire safety, the firefighters have played a key role in training the residents as well as facilitating practical training to students from various institutions, and residential premises in Eldoret town on emergency evacuation and other safety measures.
The County Executive Committee Member for Roads, Transport, Energy and Public Works Eng. Gideon Birir said the availability of the three water bowser trucks has enabled adequate water supply whenever an incident occurs.
To enhance safety and minimize the risk of fire outbreaks, the Uasin Gishu firefighting section officer in charge David Sitati said the officers always conduct inspections of petroleum tankers and have instructed that the trucks are parked in reserved bays located in Maili Nne and Burnt Forest.
They also carry out frequent inspections on quarries where instructions have been given for the installation of safety gadgets to reduce accidents.
The County now has three fire stations, one with the Eldoret CBD, Burnt forest, and Maili Nne which have reduced response time to fire incidences.
As he exits the gubernatorial seat, Governor Mandago also prides his administration on improving the transport section to ensure county machinery is properly serviced and used for the intended purposes and not misused.
The transport section has been instrumental in the maintenance of the entire county fleet including motor vehicles and heavy plant machinery, ensuring they are in good working condition and fuel is prudently managed for ease during the implementation of projects across the county.
The section has worked very closely with various departments to enhance service delivery to the residents of Uasin Gishu by ensuring all machines are operational especially supporting the roads department in the implementation of projects and the Department of Environment and Water during the desilting of dams across all the sub-counties.
According to the acting director of Transport and Mechanical Services, Lazarus Sile, the section has a total of 170 motor vehicles and trucks, and 49 heavy plant machinery that has been of great support in ensuring that all departments are able to carry out their core mandates as they handle their mobility.
In September 2021, Governor Mandago formed a task force mandated to strengthen and operationalize the County Service delivery entities. The task force which consisted of both private and public sector experts in Strategic, Management, Agriculture, Water, Public Works, Finance, Administration, and Human Resource Management, and a secretariat from Public Service for co-ordination submitted its report in December 2021.
The scope of the Taskforce was to formulate new or enhance existing legal frameworks, review HR Capabilities, establish structures, policies, and guidelines, look at challenges and strategic directions and provide a road map for operationalization of the entities.
The County Mechanical and Transport Fund is one of the entities that proposed to give solutions to several challenges being experienced by the department of roads and additionally, contractors in the county who have had a difficult time accessing quality vehicles and machinery for hire to deliver projects within the expected timelines will be assisted in order to speed up implementation of projects.
Some of the machines purchased by the regional government include 15 Motor Graders, 16 Tipper Lorries, eight rollers, three concrete mixers, six high mast flood lights, eight bulldozers, 10 Excavators, and five backhoe loaders, three water bowsers, two canters, and one wheel loader.
As a result of acquiring its own machinery, the county was able to successfully implement projects such as road infrastructure, street lighting, and desilting of dams.
Some of the bridges commissioned by the Mandago administration include Kaprorio-Kapchesogor (Sergoit ward) and Saina Box Culvert (Kapseret /Simat ward).
Others that have been operationalized are Cheukta-Ng’eny (Segero/Barsombe ward), Chepsaita-Ng’enyilel Box Culvert (Ng’enyilel ward), Kabitoi -Tendwo (Tembelio/Kaptagat ward).
Kapsaos-Kapkoros (Kapsaos ward), Kapkeno -Timor (Ainabkoi/Olare ward),Kamoson in Ngeria ward, and the Chelasgei-Kapkoros bridge in Karuna/Meibeki ,Bodalands – Chelabal Box Culvert in Ngeria ward and Kamoson box culvert in Kapseret/Simat have also been completed and commissioned within the 10-year tenure.
According to the governor 1069.5 kilometres of roads have been graded, 411.2Km graveled, and 31.8Km of drainage works done.
In an effort to encourage a 24-hour economy the county installed street lights across the county’s six constituencies, and Eldoret town that is targeting to be elevated to city status in the near future. In the lighting connectivity programme both in rural and urban areas the county surpassed its target by managing to install an extra 1, 400 LED Street Lights.
As envisioned in the regional government’s 2018-2022 County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP), the devolved unit aims to install over 7606 LED Street Lights by end of 2022.
Eng. Gideon said 404 LED Street Lights have been installed, besides, 30 High Mast floodlights, 32 (15m) floodlights, and 256 solar lighting spread across the county.
“I want to thank the Governor for allocating adequate funds, creating a directorate of energy with enough human resources and also going out of his way to negotiate with the National Government and other development partners like Kenya Informal Settlement Project, Kenya Urban Support Program who have also supported us,” said Eng. Birir.
And in an effort to enhance security surveillance the county government has initiated the installation of CCTV cameras in Eldoret town’s central business district to boost investor confidence, prevent crime and strategically place Eldoret town towards city status.
This is one of the measures Governor Mandago is putting in place to ensure that Eldoret town is safe for doing business and also has the proper tools required to ensure it attains city status.
By Kiptanui Cherono