Major infrastructural developments are underway in Kirinyaga County as it prepares to host Mashujaa Day national celebrations on October 20.
All roads in Ngurubani town, the venue, have been upgraded to all-weather status and street lights installed, while a modern stadium where President Uhuru Kenyatta will address the nation is being built for Sh300 million.
Wang'uru Stadium, in the Mwea plains, will be completed soon in readiness for the festivities.
In the same area, the abandoned Mwea airstrip is being improved to give President Kenyatta a safe landing.
Some 20km from Ngurubani, a new State lodge where the President will be served breakfast and lunch with his guests from other countries is being built under the strict supervision of Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho and his Infrastructure counterpart Paul Maringa.
The two hail from Kirinyaga County.
It is here that the President will also meet delegates from the region and receive their wish lists of development projects they want completed before President Kenyatta retires in 2022.
A road leading to the new State lodge in Kerugoya is being tarmacked. All the projects are being carried out simultaneously round the clock.
Residents are pleased that Kirinyaga is hosting Mashujaa Day national celebrations this year.
"For decades, we never had such development projects being done at the same time. We are happy with what is happening in the area, which has for many years been given a raw deal in terms of development," said Ben Gakuru.
The drainage system is also being improved in Kagio, Kerugoya and the county’s headquarters in Kutus. A survey by the Nation established that government workers were unblocking drainage channels and collecting garbage daily.
"The region is a hive of activity. Since the day it was announced that the President will be our guest, we have been enjoying a clean environment in urban centres," said Mercy Wambura.
And speaking at General Kassam Stadium in Gichugu constituency on Monday at a peace meeting, Dr Kibicho said officials would ensure everything is in order before the President arrives.
"We are working round the clock to ensure President Uhuru receives a reception befitting the Head of State," he said.
With influential Kirinyaga politician and businessman Andrew Ngirici, the PS said such meetings will be held in all four constituencies.
The meetings follow an intelligence report that rival political camps were planning to disrupt the celebrations.
"We have information that political rivals plan to face off during the celebrations and cause chaos and that is why we have organised a series of meetings to reconcile all leaders," he added.
Dr Kibicho appealed to leaders to prevail upon their supporters to maintain peace and give the President the respect he deserves.
The venue can hold 10,000 people, he said, but only 2,000 will be allowed entry due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Social distancing should be maintained in the stadium to ensure everyone is safe from the disease, he said.
Prof Maringa said the government was investing heavily in development projects meant to benefit residents, and local leaders should not do anything to embarrass President Kenyatta.
"We have set aside Sh30 billion for tarmacking roads across the region. Some of these road projects have already taken off and we should be grateful to the President," he said.
And Mr Ngirici, the husband of Kirinyaga Woman Representative Purity Wangui, assured the PS that the celebrations will be peaceful.
"As politicians, we shall not humiliate the President," he said.
Mr Ngirici told the meeting that he and Dr Kibicho had declared a political ceasefire and that they are working together for the sake of the unity of the region.