Safety fears as new Nakuru Matatu stage opens

Nakuru Matatu Stage

Nakuru town residents are a worried lot following the opening of the new matatu stage at Railways grounds.

The new stage is on the opposite side of town along the busy George Morara avenue.

“I can’t imagine the confusion from matatus entering, dropping and leaving the stage; people crisscrossing the busy highway and other vehicles cruising along the busy road,” says a concerned resident. “I expect it will be total chaos especially during the rush hour,” she adds.

Towards Nakuru Stage
Pedestrians crossing to and from the new matatu stage. (Photo: James Wakibia)

Environmental activist, James Wakibia, who is a long time resident of Nakuru also has concerns about the newly opened stage.

Posting on his Facebook page, Wakibia says the County erred by failing to put in place safety measures before opening the stage to the public.

“The newly opened Nakuru matatu stage opposite Highway towers will solve congestion problem in the city and I appreciate that. But with no pedestrian safe crossing points, the danger is lurking. Before opening the terminus to the public, they should have erected pedestrian crossings points to avoid people struggling to cross the busy highway and putting themselves at risk. Nakuru County Government should do the needful before an accident happens,” writes Wakibia.

Crossing George Morara Avenue
A load carrier crossing the busy George Morara Avenue . (Photo: James Wakibia)

While it has never been safe to cross the busy road, it is now several times worse due to the increased human and vehicular traffic.

“The problem is that we have a county governor who never has time to consult with the concerned stakeholders before making arbitrary decisions. Had he consulted, we would have advised him against this particular location,” says the chairman of a matatu Sacco operating from Nakuru.

Residents feel the county government should have put safety measures in place before launching the new terminus. Speed bumps and a pedestrian overpass are some of the suggested measures that the county should have put in place before putting the stage to use.

The new stage lies on a space that was until the recent past acted as a depot for Mombasa Maize Millers. Two years ago, hired goons broke into the depot at midnight destroying property worth millions of goods. This was meant to create space for the new terminus.

Nakuru Town is now Nakuru City

Nakuru City Charter

Nakuru town is now Nakuru City.
Nakuru which becomes the forth city after Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu was awarded the charter on Wednesday, 1st December 2021.

The charter was awarded by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta at a ceremony held at the newly beautified Nyayo Gardens in Nakuru CBD.

The ceremony was attended by about 2000 residents and several invited guests including the Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka.

However, out of the 11 Nakuru elected leaders MPs, only two were in attendance. The Senator and the Women Rep also gave the event a wide berth raising suspicion that the Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui intended to take the sole credit for the city status.

At the charter award ceremony, the new Nakuru City logo was unveiled. Unfortunately, it was later to emerge that the logo designer had been short-changed and his design had been used without his prior knowledge and the promised award money had not been given.

“Apparently, Nakuru is receiving its City status. Back in June they released a flyer requesting creatives to participate in the logo design competition. They have never announced the winner nor awarded the winner. The above logo is my creation, that i presented as they had instructed. They have manipulated the logo concept and used it as the official city logo without my consent, I have not received any official communication from the county or any recognition whatsoever. This is wrong, sad and very unfair to the creatives and the industry at large,” wrote Rough Githuka the graphics designer who allegedly did the winning design.

Nakuru City Logo draft
The logo design submitted by Rough Githuka
Nakuru City Logo
Unveiling the Nakuru City logo

Benefits of Nakuru City

In his speech to during the award ceremony, President Uhuru promised Nakuru residents that they should expect positive changes with the new status.

“A city comes with a lot of benefits,” said President Uhuru.

“It becomes attractive to do business and attracts investors who in turn create jobs for the youths,” added the President on the benefits of Nakuru being granted City status.

Nakuru Governor, Lee Kinyanjui, did not however talk of any particular benefits that residents will enjoy from the new status. His speech mostly focused on the history of Nakuru, Lake Nakuru National park and the projects being undertaken by the National Government.

During his visit in Nakuru, the President also launched the newly constructed Nakuru Disaster Unit which has been constructed by the World Bank. He also “opened” the newly opened matatu termini which is however yet to be occupied by matatus.

Kinyanjui: Kiamunyi, Lanet, Mawanga estates to reap big once Nakuru becomes City

Nakuru residents have okayed the Nakuru Municipality to become Kenya’s fourth City.

At the same time, Governor Lee Kinyanjui has hinted of the expansion of the City-to-be boundaries to include adjacent estates.

He highlighted estates like Kiamunyi, Lanet and Mawanga that would ultimately benefit from the development funding set aside for Nakuru City.

In September 2017, the Cabinet approved the elevation of Nakuru and Eldoret municipalities to Cities.He was speaking on Tuesday when he received a public participation report on the envisaged City status.

The City status ad-hoc committee chairman Mr. John Kitilit said a majority of the stakeholders were for the City status but wary of increased levies and taxes.

“Majority of Nakuru residents are ready for the City status, but wary of increased levies and taxes” said Kitilit.

He added that residents, among them politicians, were skeptical on the conferment citing infrastructural unpreparedness.

Governor Lee Kinyanjui said his was to progressively solve emerging issues among them having a sustainable development funding model.

Nakuru Municipality chairman Lawrence Karanja refuted claims of an arbitrary increase in taxes and rising cost of living once Nakuru attains City status.

He said a variation in the charges must be approved by the County Assembly of Nakuru before taking effect.Governor Lee said his office would present the finding to the local Assembly for a debate before handing it to the Senate.

“From here, we shall be presenting the report to the county assembly and then Senate” said Kinyanjui.

Kinyanjui is optimistic that the document would be passed and handed to President Uhuru Kenyatta to confer the City status later in the year.

The Governor said his office was committed to seeing locals appreciate the City status value by having meaningful development footprint.

PHOTO/NGPU: Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui(Left)receives public participation report from City status ad-hoc committee chairman Mr. John Kitilit.

County Outlines Plans to Promote Small Businesses

Hawkers operating in Nakuru Town will be given the priority in occupying stalls at the upcoming bus park.

Nakuru Town has over 5, 000 hawkers, most of them operating from bus termini, streets and public parks.

As Nakuru Municipality gears up to be a City, Governor Lee Kinyanjui has promised of an inclusive City for socio-economic betterment.

In an interview, Mr Lee said all ‘marginalized groups’ should be involved in productive activities derived from the City status opportunities.

Tuesday morning, hawkers sought an audience with the County leadership decrying alleged harassment by enforcement officers.

The traders’ chairperson Mr Joseph Mburu said some hawkers were arrested and their wares confiscated by enforcement officers.

After a lengthy deliberation at the Old Municipal Chambers, it was agreed upon that the hawkers have a conducive environment to conduct their business.

Public Service Management and Devolution minister Mwania Mwangangi said the hawkers were operating in undesignated zones.

“We will not relent in ensuring the town is orderly and friendly and enhance security for all stakeholders,” vowed Mr Mwania.

Nakuru Town East MP David Gikaria commended the Office of the Governor for embracing dialogue and offering alternative solutions to problems.

“Upcoming termini for long-distance vehicles at the railway’s yard will help decongest the town and offer employment opportunities,” Mr Gikaria stated.

The Institute of Economic Affairs places Nakuru County second to Nairobi County as a leading investment destination in the country.

In terms of Gross Domestic Product, Nakuru comes fourth after Kiambu, Nyeri and Kajiado Counties.

The County Government of Nakuru is renovating of major markets and building others across the County as a way of supporting the small scale traders.

“Their contribution to the economy is immense and necessary support will be accorded to see their businesses flourish,” said the Governor in an earlier interview.

Mr Mburu called on the traders to abide by set rules and by-laws to avoid confrontation with enforcement officers.

He commended the County Government of Nakuru to have the arrested traders released and ware handed back.

What Nakuru City can learn from Kigali, Rwanda

The County Government of Nakuru should seek inspiration from the Transformational leadership of the Rwanda Government on many areas. Key among them as Nakuru City approaches becoming a reality are; Protection and Management of our Environment, Conference & Eco-Tourism, Urban Planning and Provision of Low Cost Housing.
These are images of things that are happening in Kigali and other parts of Rwanda, we can do it also in Nakuru but we must be committed to the work ahead.
Kigali, where Nakuru City can learn from

Nakuru town will soon attain city status, it would be unfortunate if this elevation leads to some areas turning into slums and other informal housing settlements that are characterized with extreme social and environmental challenges such as criminality and poor hygiene.
As we welcome this proposition that will elevate Nakuru town’s position, let us do with a sense of responsibility and pro-action by ensuring that we put in place the pre-requisite by-laws, appropriate spatial plans as well as invest in the necessary infrastructure to make the dream of NAKURU City attractive.
The dream of Nakuru City is valid and I hope the current governor and his administration will keep this dream alive by building the foundation for a beautiful city worth working and living in.
Nakuru City modelled around the values and concepts of Kigali City has the potential to provide a much better work and live experience than Nairobi.
Crispus Wathimba
Crispus Wathimba

Our county is endowed with a Large cosmopolitan population, adequate land for farming, industries, housing and transport infrastructure, cheap source of energy, amazing tourist sites, good weather and significant forest cover.
All these factors mentioned above make Nakuru County one of the prime investment destinations in Kenya and making Nakuru town a CITY will make it the only destination of choice.
I call upon the leadership, professionals and business community and residents of Nakuru, to work together in making the dream city a reality. Let us all join hands and make our city to be, the best place to work and live in Kenya.
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