Tharaka Nithi County wish list to President Ruto

Tharaka Nithi leaders

From left: Tharaka-Nithi Senator Mwenda Gataya, Tharaka MP Gitonga Murugara, Maara MP Kareke Mbiuki, Tharaka-Nithi Governor Muthomi Njuki and his deputy Wilson Nyaga during a prayer event at the county headquarters in Kathwana on March 6, 2023. 

Photo credit: Alex Njeru I Nation Media Group

Leaders and residents of Tharaka Nithi County have drawn up a development wish list for President William Ruto, who will tour the county for the first time on Sunday since he ascended to power.

The Head of State, in the company of his deputy Rigathi Gachagua, and a host of Kenya Kwanza government leaders, will be attending a thanksgiving service at Kirubia Stadium in Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituency.

Speaking during a county interdenominational and leaders’ reconciliation prayers held at the county headquarters Kathwana, the county leaders led by Governor Muthomi Njuki said though President Ruto will be visiting the county for prayers, they are looking forward to him coming with a basket full of goodies.

“President Ruto will be visiting our county for prayers and thanksgiving coming Sunday and we are hopeful that he will not come empty-handed,” said Mr Njuki.

They said most of the goodies are the development promises that he made during the campaign period including the completion of tarmacking of various stalled roads which the former President Uhuru Kenyatta’s government started.

Mr Njuki said the roads include; the 31-kilometre Chuka-Kaare road in Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituency, which started in 2015 but stalled after completion of only six kilometers, Sh1.1 billion 32-kilometre Keeria-Kathwana road, which was launched in 2018 but stalled at the initial stage and the Sh4 billion 71 kilometres Chiakariga-Marimanti-Ura Gate road in Tharaka constituency, which started in 2016 and was to be done in two phases but the first section is still incomplete.

The other road is Sh978.6 million 23-kilometre Chogoria-Weru in Maara constituency that was launched on November 22, 2016 and targeted to be complete by November 2018 but stalled at 2.1 kilometres.

Key road

Residents of Tharaka constituency are also expecting the President to announce tarmacking of a key road, Mukuyuni-Kibunga-Marimanti, which links Meru County to Tharaka constituency.

The county boss said they also expect Dr Ruto to commission the newly constructed Sh384 million Kirubia Stadium in Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituency and also announce the upgrading of Chuka County Referral Hospital to a Level V facility.

He added that they will also ask the President to tell the residents when the reengineering of the killer Nithi Bridge on the Meru-Nairobi highway will start, to reduce accidents as he promised during his last campaign meeting in Chuka town.

The county chief said that during the visit, they will also ask the President to give a solution to the stalled Sh400 million executive office building at the county headquarters in Kathwana, which is funded by the national government.

He said the project, which was started in 2015 by first governor Samuel Ragwa, but later the funding was taken over by the national government, should have been completed in three years but stalled due to lack of funds.

“The national government was yet to fulfill its 80 per cent funding pledge towards the construction of the headquarters building and that is why we want to be given the money to complete it,” he said.

The building is one of the five counties headquarters offices being funded jointly by the national government (80 per cent) and the devolved units (20 per cent).

Tharaka MP Gitonga Murugara, his Maara counterpart Kareke Mbiuki and Senator Mwenda Gataya also said they expect the Head of State to announce the establishment of new administrative units including Turima sub-county.

Sh425 billion dam

The leaders added that the residents are also expecting the President to speak on the proposed Sh425 billion High Grand Falls dam and especially the compensation of those who will be moved and how the county will benefit from the mega project.

They, however, acknowledged the county being recognised by the Kenya Kwanza government and assured the residents that they expect a lot of development during Ruto’s regime.

“Since independence, we had not produced a Cabinet Secretary from our county but we now have Prof Kithure Kindiki of the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of the National Government,” said Mr Murugara.

Mr Murugara said there are no title deeds in many parts of the county and especially Tharaka Constituency and they are looking forward to mass land titling.

Mr Mbiuki said the county also has a principal secretary in charge of Blue Economy and Fisheries in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ms Betsy Muthoni from Chuka/Igambang’ombe constituency and they are also looking forward to Mr Ragwa from Maara constituency landing a chief administrative secretary job.

“Prof Kindiki is from Tharaka constituency and PS Muthoni from Chuka/Igambang’ombe and now we expect Maara to get a CAS and Mr Ragwa has already appeared for the interviews,” said Mr Mbiuki.