Eldoret ‘city’ status is long overdue, says Governor Jonathan Bii

A section of Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County.

A section of Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The county is eyeing the benefits that come with the desired elevation, including increased funding
  • Governor Bii said the town’s elevation to city status should have happened long ago, considering its strategic location in the region
  • Uasin Gishu county has inked deals with the Israeli and British governments 
  • A report on public views on the proposed elevation will be presented to the county executive, before submission to county assembly and later, the Senate.

Investors have been flooding Uasin Gishu county amid the push to have Eldoret elevated to city status, Governor Jonathan Bii has said.

Noting that it was ripe for city status, Mr Bii said that the county is now eyeing the benefits that come with the desired elevation.

The proposed elevation of Eldoret to city status will position it for more strategic funding that could boost infrastructure development in the town and Uasin Gishu county as a whole, the governor said on NTV’s Kigoda Chako news segment, noting that the move was long overdue.

“Eldoret has delayed becoming a city. As a main town in the region, we have all that is required to have it elevated to city status,” he said, citing the Eldoret International Airport, the two universities- Moi and Eldoret and educational facilities.

City of champions

Already Israel and UK have expressed interest in investing in the ‘City of Champions.’

The Uasin Gishu governor said the town’s elevation to city status should have happened long ago, considering its strategic location in the region as an industrial hub and the country’s food basket.

“We have the necessary infrastructure and we are strategically connected on the Northern corridor. We have two universities and several educational facilities, we are actually an education hub and therefore, this is long overdue,” he said in an interview with NTV’s Fredrick Muitiriri.

Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Chelilim Bii

Uasin Gishu Governor Jonathan Chelilim Bii preparing for NTV’s Kigoda Chako news segment on Monday February 20, 2023. He said Eldoret is ripe for city status.

Photo credit: Stanley Kimuge | Nation Media Group

According to Governor Bii, popularly locally known as Koti Moja, the cosmopolitan county shall benefit immensely from a city status. 

“We are looking at the benefits. We will attract national funding and adequate funding for social amenities and infrastructure. Farmers will have ready markets and we shall have factories which shall create employment for our young men looking for jobs,” he stated in the interview.

Investor deals

Already Uasin Gishu county has inked deals with the Israeli and British governments that could transform the livelihoods of residents. Israel’s Sh437 million deals will see its investors support the county in digitise its health systems, train medical staff, and upgradie and fit medical laboratories with diagnostic equipment. 

United Kingdom on the other hand has pledged to support Uasin Gishu to undertake various projects. 

Last month, UK High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Mariot disclosed that they will undertake feasibility studies before they zero in on three major projects. 

“Over the next few months, we will undertake feasibility studies on the ten key projects to whittle down to three major projects where the UK will see to it that they attract funding from private investors to make this town an even greater city,” Ms Marriot said at a meeting with the Uasin Gishu governor in January.

With a population of approximately 500,000 people, Eldoret is ranked as the fastest growing Town in the country and acts as a link to East and Central African countries. 

‘The county of champions’ is located along the Northern Corridor - a transport corridor linking the Great Lakes countries of Burundi, D. R. Congo, Rwanda, and Uganda to the Kenyan seaport of Mombasa also serves Northern Tanzania, Southern Sudan, and Ethiopia.


However, Eldoret town continues to experience some challenges in transport and sewerage system that need to be fixed, especially considering that a city status would signal a further burst of population.

The county is targeting to build 100,000 affordable housing units to bridge the housing shortfall in the town and reduce pressure on arable land as it eyes city status. Already the county has committed over 1,000 acres to put up over 20,000 affordable housing units in collaboration with the national government in the first phase. 

Governor Bii has previously revealed that they seeking to put modern housing units within the town to accommodate the increasing population and reduce pressure on shrinking arable land, through a public-private partnership arrangement.

A report on a public participation exercise on the proposed elevation of the Eldoret to city status will be handed to county leadership in a week.

Public views

According to Eldoret Town Municipality manager Tito Koiyet, the report is in the finalisation stages and will be handed to the executive in another week.

The executive will in turn present it to the county assembly for MCAs to discuss the committee’s recommendations, before forwarding the report to the Senate for consideration.

The process of conferring city status on Eldoret could be concluded within one year if approved by ward reps and the Senate. The Head of State will then have the final say on granting a charter.

A four-man committee was formed when?? to establish whether the municipality of Eldoret meets the requisite criteria for classification as the fifth city in the county after Nakuru. The team started interacting with members of the public and stakeholders on October 24, 2022.

City status requirements

Among the requirements that Eldoret must meet to be considered for the conferment of city status include accessibility to an international airport, proper infrastructural development, effective waste management system, sufficient learning facilities (universities-public and private), provision of quality health services, standardization of the hospitality and hotel industry and population factor among other issues, all which Governor Bii said have been met.