Jubilee campaigners in Ukambani are hoping to use President Uhuru Kenyatta’s two-day tour of the region to rally the community behind the President ahead of next year’s elections.
Mr Kenyatta heads to the Wiper party region dangling billions of shillings worth of projects being implemented by his government, in an effort to woo the Kamba community which voted overwhelmingly for the opposition Cord coalition.
The President, who will be accompanied by his deputy William Ruto and several Wiper MPs who defected to Jubilee party, will commission a raft of multi-billion-shilling road, water and health projects in Kitui and Makueni counties on Tuesday and Wednesday.
He is expected to begin his tour on Tuesday at Mutomo market in Kitui South where he will launch construction work for the Kitui-Kibwezi road whose first phase will cost Sh23.5 billion. The entire road project is expected to cost Sh50 billion.
The project, the only class B road in the country without tarmac and is part of the Northern corridor, was Jubilee’s number one pledge during the 2013 presidential campaigns and is crucial in many ways in unlocking the region’s economic potential.
Another key project on the President’s list is the Sh52 billion Thwake multi-purpose dam at the confluence of Athi and Thwake rivers, the biggest dam ever conceived in East and Central Africa.
The mega dam – a Vision 2030 flagship project, will generate 23 megawatts of hydro power, supply piped water for domestic use, serve the Konza techno city and adjacent towns, irrigate 4,000 acres of downstream land in both Kitui and Makueni counties.
The government is finalising compensation and resettlement of hundreds of families living at the project site to pave way for the construction of the dam, predicted to create a vast reservoir spanning 10,276 square kilometers once completed.
On health, the President will inspect the ongoing construction of four campuses of Kenya Medical Training College in Mutomo, Makindu, Mbooni and Wote each estimated to cost Sh370 million.
According to KMTC board chairman Prof Philip Kaloki, in just four years, the government had established eight new functional campuses in the three Kamba counties, bringing to 10 medical colleges in the region.
He explained that the President will officially open the Wote and Makindu campuses where equipment worth Sh1.3 billion has been installed.
“We’ve secured more than Sh2 billion worth of health projects including construction of KMTC campuses and equipping of hospitals,” Prof Kaloki told the Sunday Nation yesterday.
Mbooni MP Kisoi Munyao said other road construction projects, including the tarmacking of Sh1.7 billion Machakos-Kikima-Mbooni road, Sh800 million Kasikeu -Kilome road, Sh890 Tawa-Itangini–Mbooni road and the Sh800 million Thwake bridge, will be launched.
The MP said with the wide ranging projects, the President will have made a strong statement in reaching out to Kamba voters and debunked the myth that his administration was discriminating opposition leaning zones.
“Our people are only interested in how and who will uplift their welfare and standards of living through infrastructural development. Those expecting the community to stick with the opposition are in for a rude shock,” Mr Munyao said.
His assertion was echoed by Mwingi Central MP Joe Mutambu who said that the President’s supporters will rally the 1.3 million Kamba vote to President Kenyatta’s Jubilee basket in the next elections.
The MPs say with the development projects, they will have a credible performance record to bank on in their respective constituencies and also campaign for the President.
Mr Mutambu said the President’s trip is timely as the Jubilee leadership will showcase its scorecard and launch more projects in the region.