What you need to know:
- The report will now be forwarded to the county assembly for consideration
- If approved, it will be sent to the Senate for consideration
- If approved by the Senate, it will be forwarded to President William Ruto
- The Uasin Gishu county leadership is confident that the process will be concluded by December
The push for Eldoret town to be upgraded to city status is inching closer after a team tasked with gathering views from the public made an official recommendation in its final report.
In a 162-page report handed over to Uasin Gishu County Governor Jonathan Bii on Tuesday, the ad hoc committee said the town had met all the requirements to be granted a city charter.
The report will now be forwarded to the county assembly for consideration. If approved, it will be sent to the Senate for consideration. If approved by the Senate, it will be forwarded to President William Ruto.
Of the 221 people who submitted their views to the committee, about 93.2 per cent of the residents were in favour of upgrading Eldoret Town Municipality to a city, while 5.88 per cent wanted the upgrade to be delayed. Only 0.9 per cent opposed the upgrade.
"After considering the requirements of the law as stipulated in the Urban Areas and Cities (Amendment) Act, 2019, we have listened to the views of the various stakeholders in Eldoret. We, the ad hoc committee duly constituted in terms of section 5 of the said Act, do hereby recommend that the Municipality of Eldoret be upgraded to the status of a city, having met all the requirements of the law to achieve the said status," said Willy Kenei, the committee chairperson.
Met all requirements
In the report, the team said the town had met all the necessary requirements, including population, infrastructure and other facilities.
Mr Kenei, who is also the industry chairman of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce Uasin Gishu Chapter, said that although stakeholders had raised concerns about the lack of a museum and monument in the town, the county leadership had indicated that they had initiated the process of constructing them.
Some of the concerns raised were lack of monuments, museums, inadequate parking, heavy traffic as well as the review of municipal boundaries, climate change and digitisation of services to citizens.
"Eldoret has two public universities, 53 health facilities in the county and other facilities. We need to position this county as a leading hub for sports tourism, medical tourism, transport and logistics," Mr Kenei said, noting that Eldoret was the fastest growing town in the country at 5.2 per cent, above the national average of 3.7 per cent.
Stakeholders also raised concerns about the increase in land rates and other charges that would come with the creation of a city and the full implementation of the operational and financial autonomy of Eldoret Municipality.
Mr Julius Kitur, the chairman of Eldoret Municipal Council, said the elevation will attract investors and other international partners, bringing in more financial resources. He assured the public that there will be public participation before the land rates are adjusted.
"We have elaborate plans to get adequate parking space and address the traffic challenges, for example, at the main stage, a two-storey building that will be constructed will provide enough parking space. I want to assure the private sector that we will continue to create an enabling environment for business," Mr Kitur said.
Governor Bii, who received the report, noted that the benefits of Eldoret's elevation to a city will be immense.
"Not only will we attract investors and more funding, but it will also increase our visibility internationally. I am committed to working with stakeholders to make this a reality," said Governor Bii, who was accompanied by his deputy John Barorot and Uasin Gishu County Speaker Philip Muigei.
"We will soon forward the report to the County Assembly and I am optimistic that our MCAs will fast-track the process. We look forward to receiving a charter by the end of the year," said Mr Bii.
In terms of the ability to generate on-source revenue, the committee noted that the municipality met the threshold as the revenue potential of the municipality is Sh2.5 billion with the highest actual collection of Sh880 million per annum in 2021.
"The recurrent budget of the council is Sh1.3 billion, with a development to recurrent ratio of 60 per cent to 40 per cent. In addition, the municipality has demonstrated that it has attracted funding from partners and the National Treasury to the tune of Sh6.86 billion in the last three years," the committee said.
On population, the committee says the municipality has surpassed the required threshold as its population stood at 475,716 according to the 2019 Kenya National Bureau of Statistics population and housing census.
"This is more than 190 per cent above the minimum population threshold required by law," the report added.
Eng Barorot said they are optimistic that the town will achieve town status by the end of the year.
"We hope to get the status by the end of the year or before the upcoming devolution conference in Eldoret in August this year. We are also working on improving internet connectivity and digitisation of all our services to improve revenue collection," said Eng Barorot.