What you need to know:
- The half-a-century-old schools sit on prime land in Eldoret town centre
- The schools share land sandwiched between White Highlands hotel and Zion Mall
- The governor said the plans to move the affected learners are meant to pave the way for the expansion of the fast-growing Eldoret town
- He explained that there should be no cause for alarm, because necessary arrangements will be made to accommodate the learners
Central Primary and Eldoret Central Secondary schools are facing imminent transfer from Eldoret town, amid the push for the elevation of the agricultural town to city status.
The half-a-century-old schools sit on prime land in Eldoret town centre, and they will be affected by ongoing town expansion efforts by the county government.
The schools share land sandwiched between White Highlands hotel and Zion Mall.
The move, if effected by the County Government of Uasin Gishu, according to current plans, will affect more than 2,000 learners.
Governor Jonathan Bii has explained that there should be no cause for alarm, because necessary arrangements will be made to accommodate the learners.
The governor said the plans to move the affected learners are meant to pave the way for the expansion of the fast-growing Eldoret town.
Mr Bii said the town, which is just a heartbeat away from being awarded a city charter by the end of the year, will need the land for the construction of commercial buildings, parking, and malls.
His remarks came barely a week after a team that collected views from the public endorsed plans to elevate Eldoret town to city status, noting that the time was ripe for the move.
The ad hoc committee was chaired by Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) Uasin Gishu chapter chairman Willy Kenei and it handed its final report and recommendations to Mr Bii last week, giving a green light for the town’s elevation to city status.
The governor has assured parents, teachers and other stakeholders at the affected schools that they will be involved in discussions and deliberations on the transfer of learners outside the town.
"There should be no cause for alarm as we shall involve all stakeholders before the final decision is implemented about the relocation of learners to other public schools outside the town," assured Mr Bii.
He has asked the Uasin Gishu County Assembly to move with speed and approve the ad hoc committee's report to pave the way for the transmission of the document to the Senate for action.
The governor expressed confidence that the devolved unit would celebrate its city status at the August Council of Governors summit to be graced by President William Ruto in Eldoret.
The board of the municipality of Eldoret applied for city status through the Uasin Gishu executive, giving rise to stakeholder engagement, culminating in the ad hoc committee public hearings and reports.
The town, which is on track to become a fifth city after Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, and Nakuru received 93 per cent of residents’ approval for elevation, through public participation forums across the county.
"We will need land for parking space and other development projects to spur the economic growth of our town and that is why students from the two long-serving public schools will be moved to other learning institutions outside the town," explained the governor.
All requirements met
In a 162-page report handed over to Governor Bii last 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 to a city, while 5.88 per cent wanted the upgrade to be delayed. Only 0.9 per cent opposed the upgrade.
Stakeholders had raised concerns about the lack of a museum and monument in the town, although the county leadership had indicated that they had initiated the process of building them.
Some of the concerns raised during the public hearing forums 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, and 53 health facilities in Uasin Gishu county, among other facilities.
The team said there will be need to position the county as a hub for sports tourism, medical tourism, transport and logistics.