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Planners advise towns seeking city status to meet threshold

Towns and county planners’ association of Kenya (TCPAK) has advised towns in the country hoping to be elevated from municipalities to city status that they must meet the threshold to merit being elevated.

TCPAK Chairman Mairura Omwenga, said there was a raft of conditions the towns must fulfill, ahead of their elevation to city status, key being the requisite population of 250,000 people.

Other conditions the towns must meet include having in place an integrated county development plan, skilled manpower, water and sewage services and setting up of referral hospitals, universities and an international airport among other mega infrastructure projects, if they expect to attain city status, added Mairura.

He was speaking at an Eldoret hotel during a four-day Town and County Planning and Development Conference World Cities day that drew participants from the National and county governments and stakeholders from the private sector.

“Lack of resources and skilled manpower has derailed the quest by the majority of municipalities and towns in the country to meet elevation to cities,” Omwenga said.

He commended the administration of Uasin Gishu County for enabling Eldoret municipality that is angling to attain city status to meet the threshold.

“We are happy with the efforts that have been made by the administration of the regional government by fulfilling 95% of the conditions that have been outlined before any town can be elevated to a city status,” said Omwenga.

The county has rolled out week-long public participation forums to get views of the local residents and other stakeholders on its quest to be elevated as the 5th city in the country after Nakuru, Kisumu, Mombasa, and Nairobi.

Five years ago, the regional government embarked on fixing the streets and sewerage systems that had been abandoned for years by the previous defunct Eldoret municipal council.

The devolved unit pumped at least Sh. 100 million, as the town also received funding from the World Bank through the Kenya Urban Support Program (KUSP) in a bid to meet the threshold for elevation to a city.

During a Cabinet sitting that was held in September 2017, Eldoret and Nakuru were among the towns that were approved from town municipalities to cities.

Speaking during the recent Mashujaa Day Celebrations, Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Bii urged the national government and stakeholders to support the quest to have Eldoret town elevated to a city.

He challenged residents and the business community to join forces with his government towards creating an environment that will spur the town into a city status.

By Kiptanui Cherono

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