Prior to the coming into effect of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, cities and urban areas in Kenya were managed under the Local Government Act. Cap. 265. Upon promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and pursuant to the provision of Article 184, the management of urban areas and cities moved from the Local Government to County Government through the enactment of the Urban Areas and Cities Act. 2011.
The Urban Areas and Cities Act. 2011 provides for classification and establishment of urban areas and cities. Section 54, of the Urban Areas and Cities Act. 2011, provides that during the transition period, an assessment shall be undertaken on the existing urban areas and cities and classification done accordingly.
To this end, the transition Authority constituted a technical committee with membership drawn from the ministries of Devolution and Planning, Lands, Housing and Urban Development, the Kenya Law Reform Commission, the Kenya Municipal Programme (KMP), the UN-Habitat, and the Transition Authority. One of the terms of reference for the technical committee was to assess urban areas on the basis of the criteria provided for in the Urban Areas and Cities Act. 2011 pending the preparation of the required plans and to make recommendations.
The technical committee prepared a report based on the criteria as outlined in the Urban Areas and Cities, Act, 2011. Among the findings of the technical team is that, the classification of urban areas and cities as provided by the current law is not achievable under the prevailing circumstances. None of the urban areas meet all the criteria for classification. In line with the Constitutional provisions on governance and decision making process, all stakeholders are expected to participate actively in the debate over the classification of urban areas. To this end, TA placed and advisory in the local dallies on the findings of the technical committee and asked comments.
A series of forums have been held towards the finalization of this process. A stakeholder’s forum was held on 16th and 17thth of October, 2013 and a subsequent one on 2nd -3rd December, 2013 at the Great Rift Valley Lodge to consolidate all the comments and amendments where the County Executive committee members in charge of urban development also attended. Among the resolutions of the Naivasha Retreat held on 2nd and 3rd December, 2013 in the presence of the Principal Secretary Ministry of Lands, Housing and urban Development, UN-HABITAT, Civil Society Urban Development Programme, Kenya Institute of Planners, Institution of Kenya Surveyors and other partners is that issues greed upon regarding the amendments to the Urban Areas and Cities Act, 2011 be subjected to a team of urban experts for finalization prior to presentation to the legal team for drafting into a miscellaneous amendment bill. The Expert workshop is organized by the Transition Authority in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, UN-Habitat and the Centre for Urban Research and Innovations (CURI)- University of Nairobi.