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Machakos, Kenya, 28 Jan 14

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Pictures by Julius Mwelu
UN-Habitat is one of the partners that have been invited to participate in the development of the proposed Machakos City, the first ever urban centre in Kenya to be built from scratch.

At a meeting Monday with the agency’s Executive Director Dr. Joan Clos, the Governor of Machakos County Mr. Alfred Mutua said he was hoping to tap into UN-Habitat’s comparative advantage in managing sustainable urbanisation even as he embarks on the ambitious project.

“I am pleased to note that we are inviting UN-Habitat to be part of the team that will design the new Machakos City and with them on board I am sure we will be able to move quite effectively,” the Governor said.

Kenya adopted a new constitution in 2010 and which saw the government adopt devolution. Alberit many teething problems, the general view in the country is that the 47 counties stood a better chance of bringing quality services to the populace.

Mr. Mutua promised the residents of Machakos and Kenyans in general that his gubernatorial term would help uplift the living standards of the people. “We are going to deliver a world class city and also ensure that we maintain a sustainable urbanisation,” he said.

Dr. Clos with the Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua
Pictures by Julius Mwelu
According to the Governor, the assurance by Dr. Clos of his personal involvement in the project was welcome. “Dr. Clos has been the mayor of Barcelona one of the world’s largest cities and we hope to learn very much from him even as we embark on this project,” he said.

On his part, Dr. Clos hailed Mr. Mutua saying the latter embodied the new face of young and knowledgeable politicians. “He is part of a new breed of politicians who have shown commitment to service delivery to their people,” he said adding that he admired the Governor’s vision for his county.

Saying that urbanisation could be looked at both positively and negatively, the Executive Director said that Mr. Mutua was opening a new era of urban development. He said with land readily available, Machakos County had the potential of rapid growth.

“UN-Habitat is committed to helping the Governor achieve his vision as well as speeding the growth of Kenya in general,” he said.

Dr. Clos later toured the proposed public park which is under construction and the local market where he spoke to the traders about their businesses and their hopes for the future.

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