Preparations are underway in Western Kenya leaders to receive President Uhuru Kenyatta for his tour this August. According to Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa residents should get ready for the Head of State’s development tour, during which he is expected to launch several projects. This has been confirmed by the Chairman of the Lake Region Economic Bloc, Kakamega’s Governor Dr Wycliffe A. Oparanya after a held a meeting with the President at State House Mombasa to plan for his tour of Western region.
Preparations for the visit will focus on the commissioning of key development projects, including the planned construction of the Sh100 million Kakamega Gold Refinery in Ikolomani constituency. It is also anticipated the president will see to the completion of Bukhungu Stadium and the new Sh6 billion Kakamega County Teaching and Referral Hospital and commission the construction of a gold refinery plant.
Phase 1 of the Hospital expansion has cost Sh2.5 billion and the facility was to open its doors by June this year. The new facility is part of the government plan to achieve universal health coverage under the Big 4 Agenda.
Among those in attendance in the consultative meeting are Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Devolution and ASALs Eugene L. Wamalwa, Vihiga Governor Dr. Wilber K. Ottichilo, Governor Sospeter Odeke Ojaamong of Busia County, Governor Wycliffe Wangamati of Bungoma County, Governor Patrick Khaemba of Trans-Nzoia County.
Other key projects anticipated to be flagged off include the construction of a granite factory in Vihiga County and the Sh1.7 billion Vihiga Cluster Water project, funded by the Belgian government.
Mumias Sugar Company and the is also expected to feature prominently during the President’ tour. The entry of KCB Group-appointed receiver-manager in November 2019 marked a sad turning point in the once giant sugar miller’s dwindling fortunes.
The plan to set up the firm in Ikolomani is coming at a time when another firm, Shanta Gold Limited, is exploring for gold in the Lihranda corridor with hopes of establishing the viability of the valuable mineral in the area. The Tanzania-based Shanta Gold Ltd acquired the project from Acacia Exploration (Kenya) Ltd that was originally owned by Acacia Mining before being sold to Barrick Gold Corp. The deal was concluded with Shanta Gold acquiring 100 per cent shares of the Barrick owned gold mining subsidiary, which has been handling the Lihranda corridor Gold Exploration project, estimated to hold 1.31 million ounces of inferred gold.
The President is also expected to award a grant of Sh200 million to fund distribution of water from the Sh1.7 billion Vihiga Cluster Water Project to homes for domestic use. At least 350,000 residents are expected to benefit from the Belgium government-funded water project.
Short-term capital injection in Nzoia Sugar factory and construction of an airstrip in Webuye in Bungoma County, upgrade of Bukhungu Stadium, infrastructure upgrade of Busia Medical Training College, a charter and infrastructure funding for Alupe University College in Busia and Kaimosi University College in Vihiga and roads projects in the region are also featured in the President’s development tour such as the Ibokolo-Shianda, Navakholo-Malava Road.