New c*mmittee to evaluate Thika in city status pursuit

Tuesday, March 26th, 2024 00:45 | By
Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi speaking during an event in Githunguri.
Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi speaking during an event in Githunguri. PHOTO/KNA

Kiambu Governor Kimani Wamatangi has made significant changes to the committee responsible for assessing Thika’s city status eligibility, removing six of the original seven members.        

In an official gazette notice released on Friday, Wamatangi announced the appointment of a new panel of evaluators, demonstrating his ongoing commitment to push for Thika’s city status by the end of the year.

Speaking during an event in Githunguri, the county boss said he had formed a select committee made up of experts from different professional organisations such as the Architects Association of Kenya, the Law Society of Kenya, the Association of Urban Areas and Cities, the Kenya Institute of Planners, the Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Institute of Surveyors of Kenya, and members of the business community in Kiambu to assess the municipality’s capacities.

Sylviah Mueni Kasanga of the Architects Association of Kenya, Gitu Kahengeri of the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) and Zachary Ng’ang’a Mwaura of the Association of Urban Areas and Cities have been selected, according to the announcement.

Business community

T G Ndorongo from the Kenya Institute of Planners, Jeanter W Warigia from the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya, and Julius Macharia Chege from the Institute of Surveyors of Kenya have also been appointed to the committee, with Cecilia Wamaitha representing the business community.

Wamatangi had originally appointed a different set of individuals in November 2022. The seven newly appointed members are set to begin their one-year term on March 25, 2024.

The potential elevation of Thika to city status would be a major achievement in its progress, which began under the leadership of former Governor James Nyoro.

Improve infrastructure

With a population of 279,429 according to the 2019 census, Thika has been focused on improving its infrastructure through projects like the Kenya Urban Support Programme and assistance from the World Bank.

In 2022, Wamatangi spearheaded administrative reforms to drive forward Thika’s aspirations, resulting in the town being recognised as a separate administrative area independent of Juja Sub-County.

Plans to develop an airport in Gatuanyaga, repurposing land previously held by Delmonte, have been suggested to boost tourism, commerce, and job opportunities in the region.

Thika encounters a number of obstacles as it strives to attain city status, including inadequate street lighting, proliferation of informal street vending, inefficient transportation systems, limited parking availability, land disputes, subpar waste management practices, water shortages, and bureaucratic delays in approving construction plans.

The newly appointed committee will undergo an evaluation process that is anticipated to result in a proposal being submitted to the county assembly.

The Governor reiterated his dedication to promoting Thika’s city aspirations, citing the allocation of funds for water distribution and stressing the requirement for an additional investment of Sh15 billion to support the city’s development.

Plans for municipal upgrades have also been proposed for various areas near Thika, including Juja, Gatundu, Githurai (Kahawa), Kabete, and Githunguri.

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