CALL FOR SUPPORT

Kiambu injects Sh10bn to elevate Thika into smart industrial city

Governor Wamatangi said a raft of developments have been lined up towards achieving the status

In Summary
  • Governor Kimani Wamatangi said a raft of developments have been lined up towards achieving the smart city over the next few year.
  • They include infrastructure, water, health, education, trade, and other necessary initiatives to ensure the town matches city status. 
A section of Thika town
A section of Thika town
Image: JOHN KAMAU

The Kiambu county government is injecting Sh10 billion towards elevation of Thika as an industrial smart City.

In collaboration with the national administration, the county government will be allocating Sh1 billion annually for infrastructure development in support of the project which has been allocated 790 acres ceded by Del Monte fruit processing company.

Governor Kimani Wamatangi said a raft of developments have been lined up towards achieving the smart city over the next few year, which include infrastructure, water, health, education, trade, and other necessary initiatives to ensure the town matches city status. 

This, he noted, ranges from a Sh5.7 billion water reticulation project, which is being implemented in partnership with the national government to improve the capacity by Thika Water and Sewerage Company, to Sh500 million allocated for walkways and non-motorised transport.

He said additionally, his administration is installing 2,500 solar streetlights whereas the Kenya National Highway Authority is set to dual the Thika-Kolpin section of the Garissa road to ease congestion.

"These projects are not just about infrastructure. They are also about creating job and business opportunities for our people," said Wamatangi during a public engagement forum at the Blue Post hotel.

Under the Kenya Urban Support Programme, the county administration will spend Sh256 million on infrastructure projects while the Thika Stadium is being modernised at a cost of Sh250 million to provide a world-class venue for local and national events.

Madaraka, Jamhuri, and Kiganjo markets have also been earmarked for significant investments with Sh1 billion injected to enhance these trading hubs, besides plans to move the GK prison from CBD to the outskirts of the town.

Future projects include a proposed airstrip at Del Monte, a Sh2 billion light rail system, established ICT and tech hubs and the modernisation of hospitals and ECDE centres to meet the population's needs.

However, the governor cautioned that the process will not be a walk in the park as it faces opposition by critics including politicians.

"It is not going to be an easy walk, we must accommodate the wishes and aspirations of our people. There have been claims that people will be evicted but I can assure you that none will be kicked out of their homes," Wamatangi said.

He also told residents to ignore propaganda that cost of living will shoot up if town is upgraded to a city.

Among the participants were three ward representatives from the area Kennedy Mwangi (Township), John Njiru (Hospital), Peter Mburu (Kamenu) and Jackson Kung'u Jackmah (Gatuanyaga) who were initially opposed to the idea of making Thika a city.

However, they pledged to back and pass motions meant to channel funds towards the project.

Mwangi called for involvement of all stakeholders in the project and warned area MP Alice Ng'ang'a against playing politics with the city initiative.

Wamatangi has already appointed an ad-hoc and county technical committees to midwife the town's elevation into an industrial smart city. The process will culminate with the President conferring it with a charter.

The committees are also tasked with meeting the stringent requirements of the Urban Areas and Cities Act to facilitate the conferment of the town, which is today a municipality, to City status.

Once regarded as the industrial town of Kenya, Thika is set to reclaim its lost glory by becoming the first city in the Mt Kenya region.

Upon attaining city status, Thika will experience substantial benefits, including infrastructural development, improved social standards, and economic growth through establishing new businesses, increased property values, and economic empowerment via a 24-hour economy.

The new Export Processing Zone and affordable housing projects are set to generate over 50,000 jobs and make Thika an attractive destination for local and international investors.

The county has allocated 325 acres and gazette the EPZ, which is expected to increase investment opportunities and attract local and international investors in the manufacturing sector, agro-processing, and technology, fostering economic growth.

The county has also partnered with the Japan International Cooperation Agency  to manage waste better at the Kang'oki dumpsite and adopt inventive semi-aerobic landfill techniques.

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