What you need to know:
- Building owners to paint premises in a uniform colour not associated with any commercial brands, failure to which they risk imprisonment or a fine
- Landlords are to guarantee proper disposal of garbage from their premises, develop ramps for people with disabilities and the elderly and install CCTV cameras to boost security
- They should also provide space for tree cover
- Uasin Gishu county government is pushing to have Eldoret Town elevated to city status
Property owners in Eldoret are now required to meet tough conditions set by the Uasin Gishu County Government in facelift campaigns amid a push for the elevation of the town to city status.
Among the rigorous requirements aimed at hastening the process of promoting the town to a city status are obligations by building owners to paint premises in a uniform colour not associated with any commercial brands, failure to which they risk six months behind bars or a fine.
Plot owners who have not developed their land also risk losing them to the county.
In an enforcement notice by Eldoret Municipality Manager Tito Koiyet, developers are required to adhere to by-laws on the design of buildings, while landlords are to guarantee proper disposal of garbage from their premises or face six months’ imprisonment.
“All developers must adhere to by-laws related to the design of certain buildings as described. They must engage registered architects for purposes of structural designs and landlords are to ensure proper disposal of garbage from their premises,” stated the notice.
Property owners are required to implement the new demands within the next six months.
They are also required to develop ramps to ease entry by people with disabilities and the elderly and install CCTV cameras to boost security. Their land should also have trees.
“The buildings must be properly lit and have ramps to facilitate ease of entry into shops by PWDS and the aged. Installation of CCTV cameras is encouraged to improve the security of premises,” added the notice.
All external walling in private and public buildings must also adhere to bylaws related to resistance to weather and dampness by resisting the penetration of rain.
Those who fail to do so will be charged under Section 32 of the Building Code, and on conviction, will be liable to a fine or imprisonment of six months.
“In this respect, all un-faced external wall surfaces must be faced externally by rendering not less than 12.5mm thick or similar treatment and where the permeability of the wall requires, the addition of a suitable waterproofing compound shall be necessary,” states the notice.
North Rift industrial hub
According to Governor Jonathan Bii, Eldoret town, the industrial hub of the North Rift region, has met most requirements for city status that would see it benefit from additional funding from the national government and international investors.
“The promotion of the town to city category is long overdue. We have put in place all necessary conditions and it is a matter of time before it earns city class,” he said in an interview in his office.
Among the requirements to be met for the upgrade to city status is accessibility to the international airport, proper infrastructural development, an effective waste management system, sufficient learning facilities (universities-public and private), provision of quality health services, standardisation of the hospitality and hotel industry, population factors, among others.
With about 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.
Mr Bii has petitioned athletes to invest in Eldoret town, popularly referred to as the City of Champions.
“The town is strategically placed as a gateway to East and Central Africa and its elevation to city status will offer a ready and steady market to our farmers for agricultural produce and other emerging business opportunities,” the governor said.
“There are many opportunities associated with the elevation of the town to city status and now that we have met most of the requirements, it is my appeal that the process will be hastened,” added Mr Bii.
Challenges in the transport and sewage system of the town, however, might slow down the city status target.
“The sewerage is still a big challenge. Raw waste is still being discharged into River Sosiani, which cuts across the town. Some residential areas, especially informal ones, are not connected to the sewerage. These are some of the issues that need to be fixed before the town attains city status,” said Mr David Maina, an environmental expert, and planner.
Former governor and now Uasin Gishu Senator Jackson Mandago had pledged to fix the problem in vain.
The municipality has been racing against time to fix street lights and expand the sewerage and garbage dumpsites to serve the growing population.
It plans to expand and upgrade streets and roads to decongest the town and increase the supply of water to cope with the fast-growing population.
Mr Bii’s administration is struggling with the challenge of garbage collection, despite moving to the new site in Kipkenyo area.
“The Central Business District (CBD) still is littered with garbage. There is a lot to be done in weeding out hawkers and clearing the street urchins menace, issues the current administration needs to prioritise,” said Ms Mary Kemboi, an entrepreneur.
No recreational facilities
Some residents also point out that the town lacks ample recreational facilities, including public parks and arboretums.
“The recreational facilities need to be rehabilitated and upgraded to promote the tourism sector and enable the devolved unit to generate additional revenue as it remodels to city status,” said Mr Wilson Kosgei, an investor in the hospitality industry in the town.
Dilapidated facilities like Nandi park have, however, been transformed into model recreational facilities where the public can relax.
Other things that need to be done by the county government in collaboration with stakeholders include painting buildings for aesthetic appeal, marketing cultural memorabilia to promote heritage, climate change through reforestation, and providing more space for expansion from side lanes to provide spaces for business establishment.
Investors in real estate want the county to enter into a public-private partnership to offer affordable housing.
“We are working with other stakeholders, including the national government and the private sector, to develop housing plans to address the problem of informal settlements,” said Mr Bii.
The Urban Areas and Cities Act 2011 provides that to qualify as a city, an urban area must have a population of at least 250,000 based on the last census.
As per the 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census, Eldoret was ranked the fifth most populated urban area in the country after Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, and Ruiru. The town hosts several government agencies like the Energy Regulatory Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya National Highway Authority, and the Auditor General's office, among others.
The Senate approved the elevation of Nakuru in 2017, making it the fourth city after Kisumu, Mombasa, and the capital city, Nairobi.