Nakuru has developed greatly, when is it attaining city status?

 Lee Kinyanjui

Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui.

Photo credit: Wachira Mwangi | Nation Media Group

During the launch of its construction, Itare Dam was touted as the panacea to perennial water problems in Nakuru town. Construction stalled and what remains is now an eyesore. Sir, has this derailed any of your county’s development goals? Komen Moris, Eldoret

It is true that Itare Dam was to solve water shortage problems in Nakuru and we have not lost hope. I am lobbying for resumption of work at the dam. It is not right to stop a project that could help hundreds of people because of mistakes of a few. I am optimistic that the national government will find a way forward. In the meantime, we are in the process of initiating the construction of 100 solar-powered boreholes across Nakuru to mitigate the water shortage. Water issues will also be solved upon the completion of the Chemususu Dam project.

What is the remedy to counties’ funding challenges? Davis Basweti Ombane, Juja

As the second highest contributor to the gross domestic product after Nairobi, the resources that are ploughed back to Nakuru County should commensurate with our contribution. Persistent delays in exchequer disbursement to counties has hampered smooth operations. Further, revenue collections have not grown in tandem with overall economic growth. To overcome this challenge, there is a need to develop a resilient collection system to optimise own revenue and supplement exchequer funding. Use of technology and creation of legal infrastructure would allow the defaulters to be listed under credit reference bureaus. This would be a major deterrent to the ballooning debtors’ list. There is also a need for fiscal discipline to stem unnecessary spending.

What has your administration done to increase crop and livestock production? Alice Cheruto,  Nakuru

Through the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, we have been working with farmers to improve yields through provision of quality seeds especially for potato growers. We revived and introduced crops that can earn farmers more money, including pyrethrum, avocado and macadamia. We will also boost their value addition. We further have helped farmers export carrots to Tanzania. On livestock, we have been distributing improved breeds such as sheep and availing AI to farmers. This has helped improve the quality of meat and milk. We passed regulations on usage of 50kg sack to protect farmers from exploitation by middlemen.

Several infrastructure projects are being implemented in Nakuru, such as Afraha Stadium and Lanet Airport. There is also the upcoming Rironi-Mau Summit highway. How will these infrastructure help Nakuru? Ruto Phillip, Nakuru

The Rironi-Mau Summit superhighway will be a game-changer to Nakuru’s economy because it will cut travel time to Nairobi by half. It will also facilitate movement of cargo to and from the Naivasha Inland Container Depot. This will ease transport of people and goods thus improving the economy. It will also open up towns such as Naivasha and Gilgil for growth. The upgrade of Lanet Airport will boost tourism and ease transport of horticulture produce from Naivasha. The stadium will offer an opportunity for youth to nurture their talents and boost sports tourism. We have ensured the procurement process was followed strictly in projects under Nakuru County.

Your county is worst affected by climate change as seen through the flooding of key lakes.  What is your government doing to mitigate the challenges? Komen Moris, Eldoret

The rising water level in lakes is a major concern to us. The county formed a taskforce to look into this matter because people have been displaced and livelihoods destroyed by Lakes Nakuru and Naivasha. We are keen to have beacons erected on the sections affected so that people don’t move back there. But most importantly, we are working with the national government to explore compensation for those affected because the phenomena is not their fault but an act of nature.

Naivasha is an alternative holiday destination to Mombasa. What are you doing to tap into this and make Naivasha a major tourism hub? Catherine Wanjiku,  Naivasha

My administration through the Department of Trade and Tourism has been marketing Naivasha. Before the onset of Covid-19, we held the Naivasha love fest around Valentine’s Day because almost all flowers given to loved ones on this day locally and in Europe are grown in the sub county. We lobbied to have the Moi South Lake Road rehabilitated as it is an important link to hotels. We have also been promoting conference tourism and conducted stakeholder engagement with investors in the hospitality industry to ensure they set up modern facilities with the right capacity to hold big conferences.

Do you think Nakuru is getting adequate funding from the national government? Dan Murugu,  Nakuru

The allocation is not commensurate with our contribution, which is why we have pushed for additional resources to Nakuru as well as other counties. We are doing our part to increase our own source revenue and we recently launched a new revenue collection system – Nakuru Pay. I also signed the Nakuru Revenue Authority Bill to ensure we do our part.         

When will the county be handed the city status? Muigai Ngige-Lanet,  Nakuru

I appeared before the Senate Committee on Devolution and Intergovernmental Relations in February to defend our quest to have Nakuru get the city status. We have met all the legal requirements and gone through processes required when seeking city status. We are optimistic that the committee will soon table the report in the House for debate and thereafter forward to the President to present us with a charter.

The county government a few months ago barred sand harvesters in Mwiciringiri, Naivasha from conducting the trade due to the environmental mess they were creating. What is the county administration doing to ensure these people do not come back? Githuku Mungai, Nairobi

The sand harvesting was causing serious environmental degradation as it left gaping holes that are a danger to residents. We are investigating if they have Nema licence, and if yes, why they are not adhering to approval guidelines. Our environmental and enforcement officers are on the ground to ensure harvesting does not continue until all concerns are addressed.

What are you doing to ensure lives are not lost and the economy not affected due to Covid-19? Waikwa Mwangi, Nakuru

We have learnt from the experience of countries such as India. It is important to be adequately prepared because of the different waves. On Covid-19, we have adequate isolation beds, we have employed more health staff, including ICU nurses. We are increasing our ICU beds but most importantly, upgrading our oxygen production from the current 500 litres a day to 2,000 litres. Monitoring of church functions and funerals by the Nakuru multi-agency Covid-19 response committee has ensured compliance. Our public awareness campaigns have also had a positive impact.

What is your government doing to repossess all grabbed land in Nakuru? Moses K. Gachihi

Last year, I formed a team led by the county attorney to do an audit of all public land and those that have been grabbed should be reposed. Once we receive the report, we will initiate the recovery process, including by revoking title deeds of those illegally acquired. This will avail land for the much-needed development.


You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.