Kenya Gets A Fourth City. See How People Are Reacting
On Dec. 1, 2021, Nakuru town officially changed its status to Nakuru city becoming Kenya’s fourth city. The Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta graced the colorful event which was marked with pomp and color. The president lead the conferment ceremony which took place at the newly revamped Nyayo Gardens located within the city.
The climax of the event was President Kenyatta handing over city status symbol instruments to the governor of Nakuru County Lee Kinyanjui. The instruments handed over were three flags, one for the nation, another for the county, and the city respectively. The city’s logo and seal were also included in the instruments.
The Journey to the coveted city status
In 2018, Nakuru County Assembly embarked on a journey to have the status of the town elevated to that of a city. The process began in the county assembly committee, county executive committee, and county assembly. Afterward, the application was approved and taken to the Senate where it was scrutinized to check compliance with all the legal requirements. Finally, on June 3, 2021, the Senate approved the application and recommended Nakuru to be given city status.
The Meaning Of The City Status
Nakuru’s new status means that it now joins Nairobi, Kisumu, and Mombasa as Kenya’s fourth city. This transition will impact the economic status of this agricultural county in a huge way. Governor Kinyanjui was grateful that the long journey had finally come to an end. He thanked the president, saying,
“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.”
To non-Kenyans, this may sound like an ordinary name change. However, to the residents of Nakuru city, it is a doorway of opportunities. Below are some of the opportunities that come with the city status.
Establishment of an Airport
Lanet Airport in Nakuru city is currently under construction. The airport is expected to be complete and fully operational by August 2022. This project, worth Ksh3 billion (approx $26.6 million), will open up huge economic opportunities that were dormant before. It will also uplift the county’s horticultural and tourism sectors.
Upgraded road networks
Upgrading of the current roads and construction of new ones is ongoing. The impact of the revamped road network is already bringing a positive impact to Nakuru residents. These roads are part of two major interchanges within the county. They are along the Nairobi-Nakuru-Eldoret highway at Njoro and Nyahururu turnoffs respectively.
A housing project of 605 units in Bondeni area is currently underway. The president commissioned the commencement of the housing units. This will prevent the erection of slums due to the increasing population. Improved housing will improve the living standards of Bondeni residents and enhance security.
Renovation of Public Parks
There is a lot of effort to ensure Nakuru’s public parks are in a good state. The county government has carried out several projects geared towards beautifying the city. Nyayo Gardens for example has been under renovation since 2019. The president officially reopened the park during the conferment ceremony. Residents and visitors now have a serene place to relax while in the city.
How can a town qualify for city status?
The population of people resident in a town is the first criteria for gaining city status. According to the law, a Kenyan town must exceed a population threshold of 250,000 people. Currently, Nakuru has a population of 367,183 which is over and above the set limit.
In addition, for a town to be elevated to city status, its local revenue should sustain its normal operations. Thus, Nakuru fulfilled this requirement as shown in its three consecutive years financial reports.
Nakuru Residents Expectations and Reactions
Some residents are skeptical and have fears of higher tax burdens due to the new status. Also, there is the apprehension that house rent, land rates, and general cost of living will increase. To abate these fears, governor Kinyanjui assured the residents that decisions made will, first of all, consider the needs of the residents. He also assured them of regular public participation sessions. Here are some of the residents’ reactions.
The best gift ever for the people of Nakuru.
Nakuru the hub of holidays destination would wish to get someone to take me there just to see the flamingo, Menengai and climax it with the Subukia shrine .
If there’s anyone out there just inbox me and I’ll definitely appreciate
— Robert Andrew (@BOSSROBA1) December 1, 2021
I’m optimistic that Nakuru’s new City status will open doors for more infrastructural development, growth of businesses, and bring in more investments. Welcome to the big club #Nakuru. Congratulations#NakuruCity #NaxVegas pic.twitter.com/55WFwIJQJQ
— Agnes Kagure (@itsagneskagure) December 1, 2021
Nakuru is an important gateway to the Western Kenya, Northrift and Agri hub it’s elevation to a city is welcome and should spur much needed development to the city’s unexplored potential. #Nakuru @theForesters_01 @Charles_Warria @omuhulundu @PreenceNicholas @GMageta pic.twitter.com/q26ovwwOMO
— Jeff Burley (@JefBurley) December 1, 2021
From Nakurro (place of dust storms) to city status. Congratulations in advance #Nakuru and you are now officially the 4th largest city in Kenya. #Flamingo @StateHouseKenya @NakuruCountyGov @magicalkenya #TembeaKenya pic.twitter.com/pnnjp6wXel
— SafeSchoolsKE (@safe_schoolske) November 29, 2021
Some Contrary Opinions
How do you elevate Nakuru to a city without an airport? Are you crazy
— BRIAN BELLAH (@brian_bellah) December 1, 2021
A city without official matatu terminal, No lights on the high way, the only new thing is that garden which have been fenced for the last 3 years.
— Sammy wakaba (@Sammywakaba1) December 1, 2021
We will continue to keep our eyes open to see how Nakuru City develops and silence the critics. African Vibes is always here to celebrate positive African news and we say big kudos to the government of Kenya for this initiative.