Kenyatta said in his State of the Nation Address in Nairobi on Tuesday, “Nakuru City will join Kisumu, Mombasa and Nairobi as cities. With a reputation as East Africa’s cleanest town, all of Kenya looks forward to Nakuru City growing by leaps and bounds.”
The news was received with excitement, with Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui, saying, the “long and intriguing journey is finally coming to an end.”
The town’s population stands at 367,183, according to the Senate committee that scrutinised the city status application, surpassing the required population threshold of 250,000 people as per the criteria set in the law.
“I now roll [up my sleeves] to make Nakuru the best city in Kenya and Africa. Already, we have various projects underway that will restore the glory of Nakuru,” Kinyanjui said.
The governor also allayed concerns that the elevation to city status will encourage high taxes, land rates and rents. His administration, he said, will make its decisions based on the needs of the residents and will ensure regular public participation.
The Senate approved Nakuru Municipality’s application for elevation to city status this year.
The absence of clear guidelines in the Urban Areas and Cities Act 2011 on the awarding of city status delayed the granting of the charter, months after the Senate approved Nakuru’s elevation.
Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga described the decision as historical for the country saying the elevation was long overdue.
“Kisumu became a city 20 years ago and Nakuru should have attained the same almost immediately,” said Raila.
He reiterated the significance of the new city in supplying food and industrial products.
The team also found that the local revenue generated in the past three financial years demonstrated the town’s potential to sustain its operations.
Residents of Nakuru are now expected to enjoy better recreational facilities, sufficient water, state of the art stadia, good road networks, enhanced solid waste management systems among other services.
David Mwangi, the chairman of the Nakuru Tourism Association says, the lakeside town’s elevation to city status will unlock the region’s untapped economic fortunes.
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