• Projects already completed include Sh63 million Fire and Disaster Management Centre, 8km tarmacked roads, Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan in Muchatha, drainage and sewerage systems upgrade and solar lighting.
• Jane Wangui said her movement to Nairobi's Marikiti market has been eased by street lights.
Karuri municipality residents in Kiambaa have praised the Kiambu government for ongoing infrastructure projects funded by the World Bank under the Kenya Urban Support Programme.
They say the projects will ensure they have a 24-hour economy and ease movement within the area.
The projects already completed include Sh63 million Fire and Disaster Management Centre, eight-kilometre tarmacked roads, Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan in Muchatha ward, drainage and sewerage systems upgrade and solar lighting.
Simon Mirungu, a resident of Kawaida village in Cianda, said lighting and the construction of Kawaida road have improved the local economy, transport and security.
“We are an interior village and never thought we would have a tarmac road. We are happy that we have realised it. Our plots have now added value. We are happy with this development coming closer to us,” he said.
Jael Aura, a boda boda rider, said the upgraded roads have reduced costs of maintenance of their motorcycles and eased movement into and out of the villages.
“Earlier, the roads were bad and we used to charge a lot, which discouraged our customers,” Aura said.
Jane Wangui said her movement to Nairobi's Marikiti market has been eased by street lights.
"We could not go early in the morning when it was dark for fear of being mugged, now we have no fear as there is lighting in our village.”
Haroun Kangara, the inspector of works, said that lighting and upgrading of the roads have been done with utmost standards and have adhered to the guidelines, especially involving residents in the works.
“Upgrading and lighting of major roads are of great importance because they link minor centres and open up the areas,” Kangara said.
Joe Mungai from Karura North in Munyaka village said due to bad roads many residents had fled their homesteads to live in towns for easy access to their places of work.
“The development in our villages has opened them up and many who had fled have come back and built residential and commercial houses. Now we are a cosmopolitan village,” Mungai said.
The national government, through an agreement with the counties, operationalised the Urban and Cities Act in 2018, resulting in the creation of 59 municipalities across 45 counties (excluding Nairobi and Mombasa).
Kiambu was a beneficiary of six municipalities, namely Kiambu, Limuru, Thika, Ruiru, Kikuyu and Karuri.
The six administrative units receive grants from the State Department of Urban Development through the Kenya Urban Support Programme funded by the World Bank.
The programme includes projects for enhancing infrastructure, connectivity and accessibility, safety and security for six years. It started in 2017 and will end in 2023. Kiambu gets Sh2 billion annually.
Governor James Nyoro said trade and transport in nearly all towns in the county will change once the projects are completed. He said traders have started looking for sites to set up businesses following the improvements.
“We already know that investors have started looking for places to work from. Once they come, they will also create more jobs for our youths,” Nyoro said.
Karuri Municipality manager Munga Kuria said that in the last two financial years, 2018-19 and 2019-20, they have invested in seven projects, including pedestrian walkways and solid waste management equipment.
“Each year Karuri municipality receives Sh233 million, an allocation based on the 2009 population census. The municipality is administered by a municipal board and is domiciled in the Municipal Administration and Urban Development department,” Munga said.
He added that they have a robust project selection and implementation process/criterion that requires residents to identify priority areas.
“To date, six of the seven projects are complete and this has brought benefits such as connectivity and improved business activities, as well as employment in the area."