Kitale in Trans Nzoia County will undergo a major facelift under a robust urbanisation plan being rolled out by new Governor George Natembeya.
The plans, which involve an aesthetic touch to the cosmopolitan town, are part of Mr Natembeya’s priority areas in his first 100 days in office. He wants to give the town a new look that will appeal to investors and business people.
The project, which will expand to create a 24-hour economy, will start once the governor constitutes his cabinet.
“I am currently working on forming a government since the team in place is what my predecessor left behind. We will achieve this once we get the right budgetary allocations,” said Mr Natembeya.
The work will include planting trees along the dual carriageway that snakes into the town and setting up modern waste management structures.
Kitale lies on 18 square kilometres of land, half of which fall under the Kitale Golf Club. It is one of Kenya’s oldest towns. Its 200,000 people have outlived the town’s colonial plan, which was meant for about 45,00 people.
The town is poorly planned owing to limited land and encroachment on public land that saw its expansion plan envisioned by the colonial government thrown in disarray.
Mr Natembeya has set the ball rolling for the creation of a County Integrated Development Plan (CIDP) that will enable him to roll out his six-point agenda manifesto that seeks to turn around the agricultural county.
“The CIDP will enable us to secure a supplementary budget passed by the county assembly, which is currently not operational since nominated MCAs are yet to be gazetted to pave the way for the leaders to be sworn in,” he said.
Mr Natembeya regrets the town’s dilapidated physical infrastructure and poor sanitation, saying it was a big challenge for local and foreign investors. He lamented sanitation related-illnesses facing residents.
To attract investment and accelerate a 24-hour economy, the new governor said the town required an urgent transformation.
“The dilapidated sanitation condition of the town is discouraging. Thus, the county cannot attract worthy investors,” remarked Mr Natembeya, noting that investors flock to places with a favourable and friendly business environment.
On the campaign trail, the former Rift Valley regional administration lamented the mountains of garbage that are a permanent feature in the town, promising that they would be dealt with when he took office.
"I will give Kitale a facelift in the first 100 days in office. My agenda is to make the town a 24-hour economy," he said at the time.
But he had been categorical that this would only happen by engaging relevant stakeholders to come up with strategies to restore the town’s lost glory.
The former administration put in place the Municipal Board of Kitale to activate its services. It was meant to upgrade urban services in the town and its environs.
The 14,500 square-metre Masinde Muliro ultramodern market will offer trading space to more than 3,000 small and medium enterprises that have been operating at the open-air market.
Former governor Patrick Khaemba, who set up a modern business park and bus terminus in the town, failed to secure the Kitale Medium Security Prison land for expansion as promised by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017.
But Mr Natembeya plans to move the GK prison to Kwanza sub-county to pave the way for the expansion of the town.
Setting up street lights, beefing up security, wooing investors and creating more job opportunities are some of the other key issues he will need to address in order to achieve his agenda.