The “cleanest town in East and Central Africa”,that was the tag given to Nakuru some years back and maybe then it was true.Right now when it rains the town is turned into a flood zone,there are more street children and beggars than when i came to live here three years ago. that When i first started visiting Nakuru about six years ago i fell in love with the slow pace of the town,amiable residents and generally the small town feeling it gave you.It was a seven minute walk to the town center from my house and i couldn’t be happier having moved from Nairobi where it took me at east two hours in morning traffic to get to work from Thika road.
Over the past two years since i moved here,Nakuru has become a bustling commercial town,there are high rise buildings coming up,shops have got a face lift and when it rains we even have traffic gridlock reminiscent of Nairobi.It also must be the only town in Kenya where you can count more than twenty five banks on the main street-Kenyatta Avenue.And the central bank is opening up a currency center here soon.
Nakuru started off as an agricultural town and it also gained popularity as the home of the flamingos,thanks to Lake Nakuru and Elementaita which are home to these beautiful birds.Since then Nakuru has grown from the little town where farmers dropped by tea hotels for the all weather kikombe ya chai after banking their farming proceeds to a town that now boasts a lounge bar,coffee bar and is host to the Aga Khan and Karen outreach clinics.
With these changes it is time businesses in Nakuru upped their game and started offering world class customer service because the town is open for business,it has been labeled the fastest growing town in the country.I will never forget the way i walked into an shop on Kenyatta Avenue and was looking for an oven tray and when i asked the owner of the shop to get me a pan i had admired from the top shelf ,she gave me a stool asked me to climb and get it for myself!Hotels need to start improving on their accommodation facilities from basic to posh.The council also need to provide more parking bays for the increasing number of vehicles in the town because more often than not,getting parking in Nakuru on weekdays is a nightmare.
The growth Nakuru is experiencing right now calls for planning by local county officials. Street children who are becoming more aggressive,beggars at street corners,pickpockets also need to be contained.It is also not uncommon to hear of theft cases and cars being vandalized along the town’s main streets which calls for beefing of security by the town council.
As Nakuru grows so does its population and housing which was a problem before will now be a ,major issue that the council has to deal with.While acknowledging the crucial role real estate plays in the development of the economy,it is sad to see arable land in various parts of Nakuru being turned into residential estates through the sale of plots.The council needs to identify areas where such development can be done and in a controlled manner,while maintaining the rich agricultural history of the town.