Ruiru town set to become a city
Ruiru town in Kiambu County has cleared the road and is now set to receive a city status.
Plans are underway to achieve the bid for the town that prides in a population of 490,120 people as per the 2019 national census enumeration.
This makes it the fourth most populated town in Kenya after Nairobi, Mombasa and Nakuru.
The town registered a drastic rise in population growth from 238, 858 people in 2009 owing to shortage of affordable housing in Nairobi, infrastructure development along Thika superhighway and the Eastern Bypass.
Kiambu County through Kenya Urban Support Program in collaboration with the World Bank has stepped up an ambitious push to ensure the busy town has facilities that match city status.
The governor James Nyoro-led County started the push by making Ruiru a single administrative division alias municipality having corporate status and powers of self-government thereby qualifying it for funding from the World Bank.
So far, the municipality has received Sh 484 million since year 2018/2019 which has been used in renovation of parking spaces, tarmacking of link roads within the town, installation of solar and electric lights to facilitate better and secure movement of persons even at night.
The devolved unit, jointly with the World Bank also acquired a new fire engine which will boost firefighting and disaster preparedness in the Municipality.
According to Martin Kangiri, the program coordinator for urban areas at the county, should the town be elevated, it will be able to attract more investors who will in turn create jobs for the people.
Speaking while inspecting infrastructure upgrades at the town, Kangiri revealed that already, the town has more than 60 industries, a growing number of real estate companies among other businesses.
Ruiru Constituency also prides in hosting major investment projects such as Tatu City, a 5000-acre mixed-use development with Special Economic Zone status, an upcoming Notherlands City, a mega urban development comprising residential, industrial and commercial units and all-time railway services.
"The city status will also put the town in a better position of attracting international and local funding. There will also be an increase in property value," he said.
Fredrick Karanja, the town municipality manager said that the municipality council has now embarked on construction of a national standard sporting field which will be equipped with lights, spectating stands, swimming pool and other gaming zones.
An upgrade of the current fire station within the town will be done alongside improvement of link roads to better mobility and reduce traffic snarl-ups all in push to acquire the city status title.
Efforts are also made to ensure cleanliness and property enhancement of sanitation in the town. The municipality has increased by three, vehicles that collect for dumping waste products accumulated daily.
"We also have a plan to equip and improve Ruiru District Hospital to as well accommodate a morgue even as we look for a big public cemetery land," Joseph Muritu, the municipality chairman said.
The bid for the coveted title has been hailed by the town Member of County Assembly Elijah Njoroge who also happens to be the chairman in charge of Land, Housing and Municipalities in the county.
Njoroge said that the town will be in a better position to get better services after receiving the city status.
“We will now start receiving more funds nationally and internationally to support development. The municipal board has done a good job and we hope to get the city status soon,” he said.
Residents who spoke to People Daily expressed joy with the idea of the town becoming a city, but want the county government to first streamline its services.
The residents expect the devolved unit to tackle, among others the planning of the town, garbage disposal and eco-friendly amenities.
“It would also be prudent for the county to engage the national government in addressing the housing and informal settlement challenge that has continued to dot the town,” Gabriel Chege, a resident said.
To attain the title, the municipality board has made a requisition to the county executive committee member in charge of Land and Housing who is expected to write to the county cabinet.
The matter will later be tabled at the county assembly and later the county governor James Nyoro will engage the Cabinet Secretary in charge Lands Faridah Karoney.
Karoney will form an Ad hoc committee that will review the boundaries and pass a resolution on whether or not to qualify the town for the city status.