Governor Ongwae launches Sh40m lighting project in Kisii town

Kisii Governor James Ongwae (right) with Kenya Power South Nyanza Regional boss Jeremiah Kinda when they launched the National Street Light Programme in Kisii town on May 21, 2010. PHOTO | RUTH MBULA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kisii town is once again beaming with light at night after the launch of the National Street Lighting Programme by Kenya Power.

The Sh40 million programme was launched by Governor James Ongwae on Thursday evening

Residents across a wider area coverage will now pride in a 24-hour economy, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic when most of our business ventures which have been regrettably closed will start operations.

About six years ago, the county government rolled out the solar lighting programme for Kisii town and other market centres and towns across the county.

But the programme did not last long since the solar lighting systems came with a limited life span and now most of the lanterns are no longer serviceable.

“The move by Kenya Power to embark on this noble exercise to light up our town is highly welcome and we undertake to support it,” said Mr Ongwae.

The street lighting programme was originally meant to cover the Central Business District (CBD) with 200 units of lanterns on the main streets of Barclays to Kisii hotel, Mashauri – Daraja Mbili, Stadium road and Industrial area.

“Out of the need to ensure extensive coverage in the Municipality, an additional 300 lanterns are now currently being installed to cover the short streets in the CBD and its environs,” said the county chief.

The coverage also extends to the approach roads and centres to Kisii town including Kiogoro, Bobaracho, Gesonso, Nyamataro, Jogoo and Getembe which are not within the Kisii Town CBD.

Additionally, with the new by-pass roads being built, there is a separate programme to ensure that the street lighting will be done in areas like the Nyamataro-Daraja Moja, Christa Marrianne-Kenonka-Nyanchwa by pass and all other streets which we will be identifying from time to time.

“This means that, those streets and alleys that were previously identified as havens for social ills and vice under the cover of darkness, will now be safe for municipality residents and particularly, the business community,” said Mr Ongwae.

But the programme faces a big challenge given that most of the lantern pole-holders run along the walkways and road sides to importantly, ensure pedestrian safety at night.

This exposes them to vandalism and destruction where motorists may knock down the poles inadvertently.

“I urge motorists and other road users to ensure that this critical infrastructure is preserved and protected from any form of damage or vandalism to ensure un-interrupted street lighting,” said Mr Ongwae.

He said going forward, they may consider erecting barriers to safe guard the poles from destruction.

The county government has also intensified the integrated street lighting programme to support the growth of a 24-hour economy,

Several solar lights and a number of high mast lights have been installed in all market centres across the county.

“The county shall install a further 200 solar lights and 10 high mast lights as we progressively work towards lighting all market centres in the county,” said the county chief.