Eldoret town, which prides itself as the home of champions owing to its high concentration of world best athletes, is undergoing a massive face lift as it embarks to be elevated from a town to a city status to enable it meet all the conditions listed under the Urban Areas and Cities Act (2011).
From emerging skyscrapers to improved road network, the municipality has recorded general infrastructure and service improvements, so much that it was recently voted among the best investment destinations in the country.
The city is perceived as a dynamic urban centre attracting many newcomers due to its business opportunities, strategic location and renowned health and educational institutions. On the other hand, this influx is considered positive because it has given Eldoret more significance at the national level and has contributed to its image as a dynamic and cosmopolitan city that is on the way to growth.
“New ideals of urban life are changing as environmental and economic pressures on the cities grow and are currently undergoing a facelift that will see to it that people adapt to the town’s growth,” said Uasin Gishu County Executive Committee (CEC) Lands and Planning, Nelson Maritim.
The county has been upgrading the roads within the town to meet the requisite conditions set for it to attain city status. When completed, the road will give the town a face with anticipation of traffic jams being significantly reduced.
“Eldoret is a key player in growth of the economy and is centrally placed especially for truck ferrying goods in Western Kenya and neighbouring Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi connecting through the trans-African highway that passes through the CBD. We are also rehabilitating our dilapidated houses in areas such as Langas, Huruma, Kamukunji, Munyaka, Kimumu and Sikunanga which initially attracted casual workers because they are cheaper and further constructing roads to the estates within the town with the help of Kenya Urban Support Programme (KUSP),” said Maritim.
The Department of Physical Planning and Urban Development has been on the forefront in spearheading several projects including the Eldoret regeneration plan (2022-2031). The plan aims to revitalize the town, ensuring every area is rightfully vibrant while also providing the requisite physical and social infrastructure plan.
“We have conducted several projects within the municipality which have improved its liveability and has made it a desirable business destination. Governor Mandago has launched several road tarmacking projects which have been successful,” said Koech, Director Physical Planning and Urban Development.
Key roads include the Arap Kitonga road within the industrial area which hosts go downs stores which provide ease of access by delivery and pickup trucks. Race course road links the residents onto vital government facilities including the Kimalel health facility, racecourse primary and secondary schools.
Construction of walkways within the CBD are well equipped accompanied by installation of street lights along all major roads especially those leading towards estates within the municipality. This has generally increased towns security and walkability.
“A walkable city is not only more attractive to the new economy, but also will reduce the emission of Carbon (IV) oxide and eventually attract tourists,” added Koech.
The town is becoming good for business. Land prices are shooting up, opening new markets and opportunities. Banks, hotels and malls are mushrooming, and the construction of an industrial park raises hope for a better future.
Eldoret is surrounded by prime agricultural lands with large-scale grain, dairy, and horticultural farming.
According to Municipal Manager Mr Tito Koiyet, Municipality of Eldoret is ripe for the status and has met most of the requirements for consideration of award and hence the need to fast track the few unmet conditions.
“Currently, the Municipality of Eldoret has met almost all the conditions required and this team is mandated to deliver a report for onward forwarding to the executive and the assembly so that we can get the award soon. City status comes with great advantages including increased funding from the Government hence the need to work on status immediately. With the guide of the Urban and Cities Amendment Act, and the law, we shall get the city status soon,” he said.
ICT Executive Dr Emily Kogos, said that there is a need to have an integration of concepts from Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to provide real-time data collected from people, assets in the city, traffic, power, Water supply systems, waste management, crime detection, schools, hospitals and other facilities.
“With a click of a button, we will be able to access data from the systems installed. This will enable the government to use the data gathered to manage assets and resources efficiently. With a click of a button, we can be able to access data instantly,” said Dr Kogos.
“ICT has a major role of enhancing quality performance and interactivity of urban services, to reduce costs and resource consumption as well as ensuring increased contact between citizens and government. The Country is heading to full digital access,” she added.
The county government is on the move in managing the infrastructure development and social amenities to better the town’s condition despite the hectic garbage and sewer problems.
The town serves as the NOREB region’s headquarters hosting several infrastructures such as Kenya Pipeline, Eldoret International Airport, Rivertex, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Moi University, stadiums Alten Energías Renovables, country’s first utility-scale PV solar projects currently under construction.
This project will have an installed capacity of 55 MWs that will be connected to the KPLC grid next to the town of Eldoret and a Military barracks hosting the Kenya Ordnance Factories Corporation, a military installation that is the only manufacturer of small arms and ammunition in the region.
The town is setting up an arboretum which is currently at 88 percent completion. The arboretum will serve as a recreational and research centre.
Other green spaces within the Municipality include Nandi Park, and beautification of 64 street which will empower locals both socially and economically.
Eldoret will be elevated to a city status after Nakuru was conferred the status by President Uhuru last year.
By Hassan Adan Ali