By Emily Mikwa, Nancy Juma & Matilda Atieno
Residents of Nyakach Sub County could not hide their excitement at the news of Katito being conferred with a new town status.
Amid song and dance, the residents welcomed H. E Governor Prof. Peter Anyang’ Nyong’o and his entourage at the Nyakach Elders grounds in Katito ahead of the launch that confirmed Katito as the third town to be unveiled under Governor Anyang’ Nyong’os administration. Maseno and Ahero were upgraded into new townships last year and will soon be joined by Kombewa and Muhoroni before end of March 2021.
Katito is among five urban centers that were elevated to towns in a gazette notice dated March 1, 2019. Others include Ahero, Kombewa, Muhoroni, and Maseno.
The growth of the satellite towns is a sure bet in bringing services closer to the people in addition to creating economic nodes to offer opportunities to many residents as well as reducing population pressure within Kisumu City. New projections indicate that by 2050, 70 per cent of the world’s population will be living in urban centers and there is urgent need to respond to the growing population demand by elevating the status of these centers. In Kisumu County alone, it is projected that by the year 2050, at least 6 per cent of the population will be living in urban centres like Katito.
Addressing the people of Nyakach, Governor Nyong’o said urbanization opens the way for further flow of finances for better service delivery to the people. Globally, the building of resilient Cities and towns are recognized as drivers in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Katito’s strategic positioning that lies on two major highways, Kisumu – Ahero – Isibania and Kisumu – Homa Bay provides it with the advantage to blossom into a new vibrant commercial hub that will change the way of doing business within the region. With enough room for expansion in terms of land accessibility, major infrastructural developments resulting from the newly acquired town status are expected to unlock the economic potential of Nyakach Constituency.
Hopes are also high for the revival of the collapsed cotton industry with areas around Katito having been known for cotton farming in earlier years.
Governor Nyong’o challenged residents of Nyakach to invest in the new town to make it prosper saying the unveiling will come with a town management committee comprising of five men and women as provided for in the Urban Areas and Cities Act 2011. In the meantime, the town will be manned by a transitional urban administrator who is also the North Nyakach Ward Administrator together with the team of town administrators who will ensure the growth of Katito is well harnessed for its socio-economic development and the surrounding areas.
Moving forward, the town will have its own development budget from the county exchequer and will be fit to seek for investors and development partners. According to the Governor, the County Government has already identified a contractor to improve the infrastructure of the market as a start and as a show of commitment by his administration. He said his government will continue to make deliberate allocations to improve the infrastructure of all urban centres apart from seeking partnerships with development partners.
In addition, a detailed boundary delineation exercise for all towns within the county will soon be rolled out with the support of State Department of Housing and Urban Development and Katito town will be among those whose boundaries shall be established.
Earlier on, the Governor and his team made stop overs to inspect various ongoing projects within North Nyakach Ward.
The first stop was at the 32-million-shilling World Bank Funded Gem Rae Irrigation Project. This scheme which was started by JICA in 1985 had unfortunately been left to die at the expiry of the JICA funding period.
The potential of this 800-acre scheme with about 1500 farmers informed the County’s decision to re-engineer it through the KCSAP project. It involves construction of a weir and 1.8km of aligned canals.
The weir will release by gravity 1.43 cubic meters (143 million litres) of water per second to the farmers.
So far the project is 90% complete and expected to be completed and handed over in the next one month.
The next stop brought the Governor’s entourage to Gem Rae dispensary where he inspected the facility and also officiated the launch of the water project set to serve it.
The Governor was received and taken through the facility by the area Sub county MOH Dr. Lisa Amuya together with a team of the facility health workers.
The facility is a level 2 serving about 70 patients daily with a catchment area of about 3200 households from Gem Rae and Gem Nam villages of North Nyakach ward.
The Governor was accompanied by his Deputy Mathew Owili, Area MP Aduma Owuor, several members of the Kisumu County Assembly, Members of his Cabinet, and Senior County and National Government Officials.