Panel to review Eldoret’s eligibility for city status

A vantage view of Eldoret town in Uasin Gishu County on July 26, 2022. The town is in the process of being elevated to a city status.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

The planned elevation of Eldoret to a city has gained momentum after a committee was formed to determine whether the Uasin Gishu County government has put in place obligatory frameworks for the upgrade.

Governor Jackson Mandago, in a Kenya Gazette notice, appointed a seven-person team to establish whether the of Eldoret municipality meets the criteria for classification as the fifth city in Kenya after Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa and Nakuru.

The committee, chaired by Prof Leonard Mulongo of the Kenya Institute of Planners, will make recommendations on upgrading the cosmopolitan town to a city. 

The other members of the ad hoc committee are Florence Chepchumba Nyole (Architectural Association of Kenya), Willy Kenei (Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry), Grace Cheptui Chelagat (Law Society of Kenya), Stephen Kipleting (Institute of Certified Public Accountants), Geoffrey Kiprotich Koros (Kenya Institute of Surveyors) and Geoffrey Kirui (Association of Urban Areas and Cities).

“The committee will make recommendations for the conferment of city status to the Municipality of Eldoret, for a period of one year with effect from the 13th May, 2022,” stated the notice from Governor Mandago dated July 8, 2022. 

A building on Uganda highway in Eldoret town, Uasin Gishu County on July 26, 2022. The town is in the process of being elevated to a city status.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Senate approval

A Senate committee approved the elevation of Nakuru to a city in 2017. Eldoret will join the list of cities if it meets the necessary conditions. The municipality has been racing against time to fix street lights and expand the sewerage system and garbage dump site to meet the growing population.

“Currently, we have major water channels with high pressure pipes while street lights have been installed in the central business district and residential areas, among other areas,” said Julius Kitur, the municipal board chairman.

It plans to expand and upgrade streets and roads to decongest the town and increase water supply to cope with the fast-growing population. 

According to the 2011 Urban Areas and Cities Act, to qualify as a city, an urban area must have a population of at least 250,000 based on the last census. Per the 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census, Eldoret is the fifth most populated urban area in the country after Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, and Ruiru. 

The eastern side of Eldoret town in Uasin Gishu County in this picture taken on July 26, 2022. 

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Fastest growing town

With a population of about 500,000 people, Eldoret is ranked the fastest-growing town in Kenya and is a link to East and Central African countries. The town hosts several government agencies like the Energy Regulatory Authority (Epra), Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs), Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya National Highways Authority (Kenha) and the Auditor-General.

Most athletes reside in the town, making it the “city of champions” and contributing to its socio-economic growth away from the traditional agricultural activities around it. But the town continues to experience several challenges related to transport and the sewage system that need to be fixed before it is upgraded to a city. 

“The town is growing tremendously … population growth is also being witnessed. Sewerage is a big challenge and we are focusing on fixing the menace,” admitted Governor Mandago in a past interview.

The Uasin Gishu County administration is still struggling with garbage collection despite opening a new waste site in the Kipkenyo area.

“Rehabilitating parks within is among our priorities aimed at promoting tourism activities to upgrade the town to city status,” Mr Mandago added.

Some of the dilapidated facilities, including the Nandi park, have been transformed into model recreational facilities for public use.