NAIROBI, Kenya Jun 3 – 38 Senators have approved a motion in support of promoting the fast-growing Nakuru town to a city.
Only 2 Senators voted against the report by the standing committee on Devolution and Intergovernmental Relations on the conferment of City status to Nakuru Municipality.
The Senate resolution will now be submitted to President Uhuru Kenyatta for approval, paving the way for Nakuru to become a city alongside Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu.
Senators Mutula Kilonzo Junior (Makueni), Kipchumba Murkomen (Elgeyo-Marakwet) and Moses Wetangula cited the Senate resolution to have the planned elevation halted, after it emerged that street children aged between 10-12 were rounded up last year and dumped at Chemasusu Forest.
Committee Chairperson Moses Kajwang (Homa Bay) confirmed Nakuru had generated sufficient revenue in the past three financial years, demonstrating its capacity to sustain it.
“The elevation of Nakuru to city status should be beneficial to the residents’ social and economic well-being,” the Devolution Committee said.
The Senators noted that the County Government led by Lee Kinyanjui has not shown remorse for the incident that left at least five children still unaccounted for to this day.
The city status request was initially opposed by the area Senator Susan Kihika saying Nakuru needed at least 10 more years to prepare adequately before becoming a city in line with the provisions of the Urban Areas and Cities Act.
“Like most of my colleagues who’ve spoken before me, I’m very conflicted this afternoon. The reason I’m very conflicted is because, being very pragmatic and looking at the bigger picture, Nakuru deserves to be a city,” she said.
Kihika added;”However, I will not penalize the wonderful people of Nakuru Municipality who deserve a city, because then it will give a better business environment by elevating it to a city. But I must say that Nakuru must not proceed in a way that only caters for the rich people in Nakuru. Where the poor are seen to be an eyesore and therefore removed from the town.”
Taita Taveta Senator Johnes Mwarume and Bomet’s Christopher Langat pleaded with this colleagues to reject the motion.
“I would like my colleagues to agree that for now we should drop this bill and then give the Nakuru County government a little time so that they can get their act together, devise enough strategies to ensure that any citizen living in Nakuru enjoys the same rights as everyone else, be it poor or rich,” Mwarume noted.
Senators Samuel Poghisio (West Pokot), Margaret Kamar (Uasin Gishu) and Amos Wako (Busia) cited at least 10 conditions that the County Government must meet including improved garbage disposal, more housing, street lighting, improved roads and infrastructure and eco-friendly amenities.
The Senate received the request from Nakuru county on November 21, 2020. Then the municipality had to prove that it qualifies in terms of population, finance, transport, health, education and other factors.
City status means an urban area qualifies for more benefits, grants, national staff and attracts more people and investment. It must meet conditions established in the Urban Areas and Cities Act.