• Nyong’o said the upgrade was strictly done in accordance with the Urban Areas and Cities Act.
• 'Maseno town has always been in Kisumu. It has for decades been the headquarters of the former Maseno division. It also sits in North West Kisumu ward'
Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o has urged Vihiga leaders to join in the celebration of Maseno's upgrade as a town.
He appealed to leaders to stop making utterance that may stir tension and hatred between communities.
Last week, Nyong'o unveiled Maseno as a town. It is one of the five urban centres that were upgraded in Kisumu county. Others that acquired the new status are Kombewa, Katito, Muhoroni and Ahero.
Already, Sh40 million has been allocated by the county for the first phase of the improvement of Maseno town's water and sewerage, road and lighting infrastructure, solid waste management and tourism development.
Nyong'o cautioned against inciting utterances and urged leaders with grievances to pursue peaceful solutions. He was reacting to media reports that quoted some Vihiga leaders as saying that Kisumu should not have upgraded Maseno owing to decades-old boundary disputes.
Maseno resident Joram Ondere urged Parliament to establish an independent commission on county boundaries to address the matter and come up with a lasting solution.
Vihiga Senator George Khaniri said the County Boundaries Bill, 2017, that is currently before Parliament will help address what he termed a historic injustice to the people of Vihiga.
He asked the leadership from both counties to undertake public participation to get views of dwellers before proceeding with the upgrade plan.
However, Nyong’o noted that “Maseno belongs to all of us” and what was needed is not disputes but synergies that will build the town into a robust cosmopolitan centre that offers jobs and business opportunities, regardless of ethnicity.
“It's unfortunate that some people want to fan fresh tension over the well-intended development of Maseno, which has been a uniting factor for residents of the two counties,” he said.
"We ask our brothers from Vihiga to join us in celebrating Maseno and stop making utterances that may stir tension and hatred between the two communities even as we look for ways of addressing the said dispute.”
Nyong’o said the upgrade was strictly done in accordance with the Urban Areas and Cities Act. "We conducted elaborated public participation before we unveiled it."
He said the upgrade was also in line with the interest of residents which is improved services from the county government of Kisumu.
“We must emphasise from the onset that Maseno town has always been in Kisumu. It has for decades been the headquarters of the former Maseno division. It also sits in North West Kisumu ward of the Kisumu county assembly,” the county chief said.
"We acknowledge there has been some disputes over the boundaries of the town but this cannot stop the development of this fast-growing and important urban centre, which hosts a national university, a forestry research centre, a national school , a hospital, a college and an agricultural training centre, among other important facilities.”
Nyong’o said in a statement that the disputes cannot stop the county from upgrading Maseno, whose development has stagnated over the years, turning part of it into a slum because of lack of proper planning.
“It is important to note that the birth of Maseno town comes with immense advantages and opportunities that outweigh the dispute,” he said.
"It comes at a time when there is urgent need to develop and prepare our urban centres for the new challenges facing urbanisation that has seen massive rural-urban migrations.”