By Nancy Juma
“I have seen the future and it works”. Those are the words of Kisumu Governor Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o at the launch of Kisumu Sustainable Mobility Plan and the Inaugural Kisumu Car – Free Day held today at City Square, Kisumu.
Kisumu, just like many intermediary cities around the Globe has witnessed exponential growth in terms of population. This has presented the City with a myriad of challenges that if not addressed in time, will see residents lose numerous opportunities in terms of development.
The Kisumu Sustainable Mobility Plan being undertaken by the County Government of Kisumu through City of Kisumu, UN – Habitat and Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) aims to foster increased accessibility by prioritizing walking, cycling and use of public transport, a move that will go a long way in decongesting a City that is already chocking on its rising population and growing emissions of carbon dioxide.
As part of capacity building in the implementation for better streets within the City, the Plan is a great boost to the realization of the Governor’s Urban Renewal Agenda as outlined in his Manifesto and the on-going beautification process where the County Government has partnered with various corporate entities under a programme dubbed, “Transforming Kisumu City Through Enhanced Urban Aesthetics”. The programme launched in January seeks to clean and beautify the city and its environs starting with green spaces, roundabouts, gardens, parks and others in order to complement government efforts in making Kisumu a City for the Future.
United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLGA), the organizers of Africities Summit saw Kisumu as a promising City of the Future. In line with its theme for the 9th Edition of Africities Summit, “The Role of Intermediary Cities in Implementing Agenda 2063 of African Union and Agenda 2030 of United Nations”, Kisumu sits at a vantage position for other intermediary cities to draw lessons by virtue of being the first intermediary city to host the Africities Summit in April 2022.
It is therefore critical for Kisumu to take advantage of every opportunity to position itself as the true African City ahead of the Summit by putting into place requisite infrastructure and necessary policies and plans.
Speaking at the launch, Governor Nyong’o was quick to mention that intermediate cities are promising and if well planned and developed will be the metropolis of Africa. He assured residents that his administration is burning the midnight oil to put into place proper policies and modern infrastructure to make Kisumu the true African City for the Future with equal opportunities for all.
“There is nothing more important for a City today to have proper infrastructure, proper housing, access to food, dignity of the people, freedom of the people and unity of the people”.
Said Governor Nyong’o while promising that his Government will work together with like-minded organizations to ensure that Kisumu as a City of the Future is one that the future generations will be proud of.
Prof. Nyong’o mentioned that the plan is to have a sustainable and resilient city of today and the future, something he says is only achievable by working closely with private entities through Public – Private Partnerships (PPP).
He reiterated his commitment in delivering the promise he made to the people of Kisumu saying that his administration holds much respect to the concept of public participation adding that it is the only sure tool for residents to fully own development projects.
UN – Habitat Representative Rehab Mudala thanked the County Government of Kisumu for incubating one of the innovators for E – Mobility by providing them with space. She confirmed that Kisumu will be receiving some E- Mobility motorcycles to showcase that the move is affordable. However, she challenged the County to consider a regular Car – Free event and embrace more sustainable urban mobility initiatives.
ITDP Programme Director Eng. Meshack Kidenda described Kisumu as a big economic hub that requires high quality mobility systems to drive development and posterity. He said ITDP will work closely with the County to shift thinking to give people who are walking and using public transport the priority they deserve.
The Plan which will ensure proper spacing of the roads to accommodate all road users was prepared by the City of Kisumu in partnership with ITDP, and UN Habitat with support from Ford Foundation and the International Climate Initiative.