State to relocate Homa Bay prison for expansion of Tom Mboya University after Ruto order

Administration and lecture hall at Tom Mboya University

The main administration building at Tom Mboya University, Homa Bay.

The government has kicked off plans to relocate Homa Bay GK prison to create space for the expansion of Tom Mboya University.

The correctional facility will be moved to a different location and the land used for putting up new buildings, which will be used by the institution of higher learning.

Homa Bay GK prison sits on 27 acres.

This includes cells, officers’ quarters and fields used for cultivation and other activities.

The prison shares its fence with Tom Mboya University.

During a meeting with President William Ruto in January, leaders from Homa Bay presented a memorandum to the head of state on what they wanted the government to implement to make the county grow.

Among them was the expansion of Tom Mboya University to enable it to offer more courses to both residents and students from other counties.

Deputy Governor Oyugi Magwanga said the president heeded their calls and promised to follow up on the matter.

He hosted Commissioner General of Kenya Prisons John Warioba at his office on Wednesday.

Mr Warioba led a team to Homa Bay on a sight-seeing mission to identify suitable places to relocate the prison.

Mr Magwanga said Tom Mboya University is important to the county and Kenya in general.

"Its expansion will create more opportunities for our people. It will be able to offer more courses," the deputy governor said.

He said the matter will be solved amicably. Homa Bay County has two GK prisons.

Besides the one in Homa Bay town, there is another one in Rachuonyo North.

Mr Magwanga ruled out relocating the prison to the same area where one already exists.

"In the relocation plans, we intend to identify a place in either Suba, Ndhiwa or Rangwe. It must be the same size as the prison or more," he said.

Mr Warioba said his team was given directives by the Head of State to prepare to relocate the prison.

"We want to start implementing the directives. We will transition smoothly and all will be well," he said.

Meanwhile, Tom Mboya University acting Vice Chancellor Charles Ocholla said the institution opened its doors in 2014 when 114 students enrolled for different courses.

Within years, the number of students had increased and the faculties at the institution were limited.

The management had to hire lecture halls within the town centre.

Prof Ocholla said the institution currently has a population of 6,000 students.

"We are ready to develop Homa Bay County through research and innovation and this will be possible if we expand. We thank everyone who is helping us develop Tom Mboya," he said.