New governors grapple with stalled projects

Naivasha Wholesale market

 Ongoing construction of the Sh600million Naivasha Wholesale market in Naivasha town.

Photo credit: Eric Matara | Nation Media Group

First-term governors in the Rift Valley region are grappling with the nightmare of unfinished projects worth more than Sh10 billion that were launched by their predecessors.

In some of the counties, governors lack money to complete the projects, which have stalled or remain incomplete.

Nakuru’s Susan Kihika as well as George Natembeya of Trans Nzoia an Uasin Gishu’s Jonathan Bii are among newcomer county chiefs who have inherited such projects from their predecessors, which they must fund and fast-track to completion before launching their own.

Others are Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo), Eric Mutai(Kericho) and Stephen Sang (Nandi). In Nakuru, the projects include a Sh900 million building that will serve as the county headquarters, the Sh600 million Naivasha wholesale market, Sh240 million Naivasha fish market, and a Sh600 million bus terminus in Nakuru City. The first phase of the three-storey Naivasha wholesale market,whose construction started early last year and is expected to cost Sh149 million, is 80 per cent complete. The market is being constructed under the Kenya Urban Support Programme.

The renovation of Afraha Stadium in Nakuru City is also underway. The Sh348 million project kicked off a year ago.

Outpatient wing

In the health sector, Ms Kihika will have to ensure the completion of a Sh118 million oxygen plant at the Nakuru Level Five Hospital, a Sh760 million ultra-modern outpatient wing at the same hospital as well as the Sh150 million upgrade of the Molo Sub-county hospital.

Other projects include; completion of level four facilities started in various parts of the county.

Governor Kihika has also inherited a series of projects within Nakuru City including the Sh80 million street-lighting and drainage project in the central business district. In Trans Nzoia, Governor Natembeya will require more than Sh100 million to upgrade the Trans Nzoia Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kitale, which was started by former Governor Patrick Khaemba in 2013.

Last November, Mr Natembeya revealed that his administration will pump an additional Sh100 million into the hospital, which is still incomplete 10 years after construction started.

The 400-bed capacity hospital was hit by cash shortages, lawsuits and claims of wastage of public resources, with residents demanding that the Sh1.6 billion project be re-evaluated.

“We cannot abandon this project after sinking a lot of public funds into it. What is now required is about Sh100 million to make it operational,” Mr Natembeya said.

Once completed, the hospital will have 10 operating theatres, 40 Intensive Care Unit beds, magnetic resonance imaging (MI) and other diagnostic equipment, a modern lab, an accident and emergency section, two linear accelerators for radiotherapy services, 15 renal beds, a five-bed burn unit, a catheter lab among other facilities. Other projects that Mr Natembeya inherited and are incomplete are the Kwanza Rehabilitation Centre that requires Sh2.5 million, an early childhood development education centre in Kakarwa (Sh8.7 million) and several health facilities across the county.

In Uasin Gishu, at least five major projects that are incomplete were handed over to Mr Bii by Governor Jackson Mandago.

They include Ziwa and Burnt Forest Level Five Hospitals, which will cost more than Sh2 billion to complete. The refurbishment of 64 Stadium in Eldoret which is expected to cost over Sh1 billion is also incomplete. Others are three sub county hospitals whose construction had stalled.

In Nandi, Governor Stephen Sang seeks to complete the Sh1 billion county headquarters that stalled more than eight years ago.

He inherited the project from first Governor Dr Cleophas Lagat.

In Baringo,Governor Benjamin Cheboi has said he will prioritise the completion of the stalled Kabarnet Stadium in Kabarnet.

Construction of the stadium started eight years ago and was to be completed in 2018.

Other incomplete projects include several health facilities across the county and a milk processing plant in Eldama Ravine.

The county boss last December asked the county assembly to allocate enough money in the budget to not only complete stalled projects but to also establish new ones.