Ruto to open 10th devolution conference in Eldoret today
President William Ruto will today officially open the 10th devolution conference in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County.
The forum runs from today till Saturday with more than 10,000 delegates expected to attend.
Host Governor Jonathan Bii’s administration expects to use the devolution conference to market itself as an ideal investment hub. He says the county has a lot to offer being a rich agricultural and athletic region.
“The conference is a rare opportunity that will bring top country leadership and many high-level local and international guests to our County. We must be prepared to welcome them as a County. The event will also prove Eldoret’s readiness to be elevated into a city,” said Bii.
The momentous event, Bii said, will also reflect on significant milestones that have been achieved since the establishment of devolution.
“Eldoret is the City of Champions. World class athletes among them Faith Kipyegon, Moses Tanui and Ezekiel Kemboi among others call here home. So, let’s show our usual hospitality and get ready to welcome all our visitors and make them feel at home,” said Bii.
He said the devolution conference will also be an opportunity to unite the whole country noting that President Ruto, his deputy Rigathi Gachagua and Azimio leader Raila Odinga will grace the event on different days.
According to Bii, the region will enjoy booming business during the conference and called on players in the hospitality industry to seize the opportunity and ensure they have the capacity to accommodate all the 10,000 visitors expected to attend.
Bii said the preparations ahead of the event have helped change the face of Eldoret town citing the Kipchoge Keino stadium which has been given a facelift and is almost complete and the town decongestion.
A spot check by People Daily established that preparations ahead of the event are in top gear with all roads leading to the conference venue at the Eldoret Sports Club being given a face lift.
The theme of this year’s conference is: “10 years of devolution: The present and the future.”
Council of Governors vice chair Ahmed Abdulahi who led a delegation of Devolution Steering Committee members on the assessment of Uasin Gishu County government readiness to host the conference lauded devolution which he said has brought vital government services closer to the people.
“The national government will only succeed when vital services like health are fully devolved. There are serious engagements with the treasury in releasing funds to the counties,” said Abdulahi, also the Wajir Governor. The governors are set to focus on the last 10 years of devolution and explore locally and internationally recognised methods to help strengthen the systems and ensure transformed service delivery to its citizenry across the 47 counties.
The conference will also present an ideal opportunity for counties which come under the North Rift Economic Bloc (NOREB) to showcase itself as potential investment hub in tourism, sports and agriculture among others.
The conference will bring together local and international delegates to discuss, learn and share best practices on pertinent issues affecting sub-national governments and provide trade and investment opportunities for communities in Uasin Gishu and neighbouring counties.
“We want to warmly welcome all visitors to our remarkable county which is privileged to host this year’s devolution conference. This momentous event will reflect on significant milestones that have been achieved since the establishment of devolution,” said Governor Bii.
He assured the over 10,000 participants who are expected to attend the event of their safety adding that the county government was liaising with security agencies.
Nominated Senator Margaret Kamar lauded the county leadership for being selected to be the first one in hosting the conference.
She said the five-day event will cover all areas of the economy, calling on all stakeholders to ensure they attend the conference.
According to Bii, the devolution conference will also prove Eldoret readiness to the elevated into a city.
Uasin Gishu County Assembly has already approved a report from an ad-hoc committee recommending the conferment of Eldoret town to a city status.
The approval of the report by the county assembly now paves the way for Eldoret town municipality to be elevated to the 5th city in Kenya after Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, and Kisumu.
The report has already been forwarded to the Senate for consideration, and if approved, it will be forwarded to President Ruto for consent to have the town to be conferred a city status.