By Ben Leshau
Narok town risks missing out of Sh30 billion urban development grants by the World Bank after leaders and locals differed over planned upgrade of the town to a municipality.
The row started after the town upgrade proposal was tabled before the County Assembly by Narok Town Ward MCA Bernard Torome generating mixed reactions.
Torome told the assembly public participation had already been conducted and residents had given the upgrade a nod.
“We need this town to develop as a municipality and we have done enough public participation on the same,” he said.
The objective of the World Bank’s Urban Support Program Project (USSP) is to establish and strengthen urban institutions to deliver improved infrastructure and services in participating counties in Kenya.
A section of the MCAs led by Nkareta and Oloropil’s Moses ole Kiok and Wilson Murguiya opposed the move saying the proposed area of coverage will eat up on private lands thus hiking the land rates.
They argued that the over 600 square kilometers will affect farming and pastoral activities in the surrounding areas.
A section of former councilors in the defunct Narok County Council also vowed to stand firm against the upgrade saying the town was still under-developed to be upgraded to a municipality status.
Former County Council Chairman Kelena ole Nchoe and Keriomboti ole Sadera led a huge delegation to the area County Commissioner George Natembeya’s office.
“We do not want the municipality as at now. The 696 square kilometers will cover areas such as Nkareta, Naisoiya, Ilmashariani and Olopito among other areas. Imagine someone owning over 200 acres in the upcountry and is told to pay land rates like town dwellers,” posed Nchoe.
The leaders accused a section of MCAs for rushing to debate on the issue without ‘proper’ public participation saying the town so far lacks key development facilities to warrant the upgrade.
“This town is still in a deplorable state. There is no sewerage facility, road network is poor and our cemetery is full. Before starting targeting the World Bank cash let the county first utilize the annual Sh10 billion budgetary allocations to upgrade the town,” said Sadera.