Kenya: Governors From Western List 15 Projects for Uhuru to Unveil in Visit

Five governors from Western on Thursday met President Uhuru Kenyatta ahead of his planned development tour of the region next month.

The governors have identified and proposed key projects to be commissioned by the Head of State in the visit that comes just two months after he toured the neighbouring Nyanza.

The Nyanza tour elicited criticism and discontent from Western leaders who lamented that the region had been forgotten in the President's development agenda.

The President's visit was first hinted by Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, who asked the region to start preparing to receive him.

The leaders meeting with the Head of State was held at State House Mombasa and was attended by Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Sospeter Ojaamong (Busia), Wilber Ottichilo (Vihiga), Patrick Khaemba (Trans Nzoia) and Wycliffe Wangamati (Bungoma).

The tour that is eagerly awaited by residents comes weeks after President Kenyatta made similar visits to Eastern and Coast.

The governors presented at least 15 mega projects proposed to be covered in the visit, among them the revival of Mumias Sugar Company in Kakamega County, whose collapse killed the region's economy and led to loss of jobs. The firm is currently under receivership as politicians bicker over its revival.

The President is also expected to launch the construction of a gold refinery in Kakamega andhand it over to a private investor who will pump in Sh100 million.

The plan to set up the firm in Ikolomani is coming at a time when another firm, Shanta Gold Limited, is exploring for gold in the Lihranda corridor with hopes of establishing the viability of the valuable mineral in the area.

Grant

There is also the commissioning of Sh50 million granite factory in Emuhaya, Vihiga County. The President is also expected to award a grant of Sh200 million to fund distribution of water from the Sh1.7 billion Vihiga Cluster Water Project to homes for domestic use. At least 350,000 residents are expected to benefit from the Belgium government-funded water project.

Also in the proposed projects is the upgrade of Kakamega Level Five Hospital to a level six facility. The hospital will be the fifth referral facility in the country after Kenyatta National Hospital, Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital and Mathari Hospital if the proposal is adopted.

Short-term capital injection in Nzoia Sugar factory and construction of an airstrip in Webuye in Bungoma County, upgrade of Bukhungu Stadium, infrastructure upgrade of Busia Medical Training College, a charter and infrastructure funding for Alupe and Kaimosi university colleges in Busia and Vihiga respectively and roads projects in the region are also featured in the President's development tour programme.

Mr Oparanya, who led other governors to the Mombasa meeting, said plans for the president's tour are in top gear.

DMusalia@ke.nationmedia.com

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