What you need to know:
- An ad hoc committee formed to determine whether the Uasin Gishu County government has put in place obligatory frameworks for the upgrade has started collecting views from the public
- Even as major Kenyan towns push for elevation to city status, town and county planners insist they must first meet the required threshold
Proprietors of residential and commercial buildings in Eldoret’s central business district have been asked to start painting their premises so as to give the town a facelift in the ongoing push for a city status.
This came after an ad hoc committee formed to determine whether the Uasin Gishu County government has put in place obligatory frameworks for the upgrade started collecting views from the public.
Eldoret municipality chairman Julius Kitur said the county is working with stakeholders to ensure all buildings in the town centre are painted as required.
Mr Kitur said the county welcomes views from all stakeholders on how to fast-track plans for elevating the town to a city.
He said painting buildings, especially old ones that are giving the town a bad image, will attract more investors and help the town become a city.
“I urge all owners of buildings which are no longer attractive to start painting their premises … It will be better for owners of buildings in this town to start giving their buildings aesthetic value in readiness to a city status,” Mr Kitur said.
The committee started receiving the views of the public and stakeholders on October 24, a process that will end on November 9.
Mr Kitur said stakeholders will be involved through public participation before the compulsory requirement for all buildings to be painted with specific colours is fully enforced.
Investors in Eldoret have been challenged to start playing their role by ensuring that their premises are appealing.
He said plans to elevate the town to a city are at an advanced stage, and town planning engineers are working on a possible city monument that will be acceptable to all.
Because of negative political influence, Mr Kitur said, the county was pushed into unnecessary court battles and this was derailing development in the town.
He said the county is working with the Judiciary to come up with laws that are not punitive to traders, and this will help the county avoid unnecessary court battles.
He revealed that the county legal team is working on laws that will make the business licensing department more vibrant by issuing permits to new applicants within 14 days.
“Approval of business permits has been taking a long time, but in future it will be taking the shortest time possible to save investors from taking a long time waiting for such licences,” Mr Kitur said.
Officials are working to ensure that the town attracts more investors, he added.
Even as major Kenyan towns push for elevation to city status, the Town and County Planners Association of Kenya (TCPAK) has directed such towns to ensure that they meet the required threshold.
TCPAK chairman Mairura Omwenga, has outlined the conditions towns must fulfill ahead of their elevation to cities, key among them being a population of 250,000.
Mr Omwenga also said the towns must have in place integrated county development plans, skilled manpower, a sewerage system, a referral hospital, universities and an international airport.
He was speaking at an Eldoret hotel during a four-day Town and County Planning and Development Conference World Cities day that drew participants from the national and county governments and the private sector.
“Lack of resources and skilled manpower has derailed the quest by the majority of towns in the country to be elevated to city status,” Mr Omwenga argued.
He commended the Uasin Gishu administration for meeting the threshold for Eldoret to be elevated to a city.