As the process of expanding and upgrading Kakamega Airstrip gains momentum, a delegation from the County Government of Kakamega on Wednesday concluded a two day tour of Eldoret and Kisumu Airports where massive knowledge and information was gained from their hosts with regards to expansion of Kakamega Airstrip to a fully fledged Airport.

Kisumu and Eldoret travel facilities having gone through the same process, the Kakamega team led by the County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Lands, Housing, Urban Development and Physical Planning Dr Mariam Barasa and her Public Service and Administration counterpart Mr Lawrence Omuhaka sought to understand the process and procedures that the two facilities went through in acquiring land to facilitate expansion.

Dr Barasa appreciated their hosts for providing an opportunity to learn and revealed that Kakamega has made tremendous progress towards the initiative notably ground inspection, identification of current land owners and beaconing among others.

She said Kakamega envisages an influx of visitors owing to operationalization of various priority projects such as the Kakamega County Teaching and Referral Hospital (KCTRH), the Organic Fertilizer Manufacturing Plant in Mumias West, Tea Factory in Shinyalu, a Gold refinery plant in Ikolomani and the Milk Processing factory in Malava Sub-County hence the need for the County Government to facilitate a swift upgrade of the Airstrip.

The CECM also implored concerned officers to sensitize land owners on proper and prudent utilisation of funds where compensation is involved. Her sentiments were echoed by Mr Lawrence Omuhaka who added that a technical team has been constituted to guarantee a just and seamless process. The team comprises of Officers from the County Government, Kenya Airports Authority, Kenya Civil Aviation technical officers, Ministry of Transport, National Lands Commission and Local leaders among others.

The Regional Airport Manager also in-charge of the Kisumu International Airport Ms Selina Gor advised on the need to make sure locals are supportive of the project so as to ensure its sustainability. Ms Gor stated that Kakamega Airstrip has a potential of transforming to an International Airport and revealed that 40 percent of passengers being served by the Kisumu Airport are from Kakamega County and the other neighbouring counties of Western Kenya such as Busia, Bungoma and Vihiga. Ms Gor’s sentiments were shared with the Eldoret Airport Manager Mr Walter Agong’.

Area MCA Hon. Elphas Shilosio called for speedy implementation of the Kakamega project adding that the National Government has already allocated Shs 50 Million towards expansion of the Airstrip terminal.

Chief Officer for Lands Administration and Physical Planning CPA David Kulova on his part noted that the County has provided a conducive environment to all willing partners for the purpose of setting up their investments.

Present was the Chairperson Lands Committee at the County Assembly Hon. Timothy Wanzetse, the Vice Chairperson Hon. Charles Lwanga, County Attorney CS Vivian Mmbaka, Chief Officers; Ms Faith Gitira (Housing and Urban Development) and Mr Pascal Were (Public Works), Kakamega Airstrip Manager Mr Jackson Wanyonyi, Directors, Shinyalu Sub-County Mr Henry Mbayaki, Esther Mituka from the National Lands Commission, Land Valuers and Surveyors among others.