The County

Kitui County is located in lower Eastern Kenya.

Traditional Kamba dance

Population of Kitui County
Population: 1,012,709

(Male – 48%, Female – 52%).
Population density: 33 people per km 2.
National percentage: 2.7 %.
Age distribution: 0-14years (46.6%),
15- 64years (48.2%), 65 + years 5.2%.
Number of households: 205,491.

Kitui County Government
County Headquarters: Kitui Town.

Kitui County now consists of eight constituencies (2012). They are:

1.) Mwingi North with a total population of 139,967 comprises of five Wards that is Ngomeni (pop. 18, 447), Kyuso (pop.40, 375), Mumoni (pop.32, 171), Tseikuru (pop.35, 890), and Tharaka (pop.13, 084).

2.) Mwingi East with a total population 122,361 comprises of five  Wards that is Kivou (pop.24, 886), Nguni (pop.29, 313), Nuu (pop.27, 644), Mui (pop.19, 628), and Waita (pop.20, 890).

3.) Mwingi West with a total population of 122,620 comprises of five Wards that isKyome/Thaana (pop.22, 443), Nguutani (pop.27265), Migwani (pop.28, 169), Kiomo/Kyethani (pop.21, 000), and Mwingi Central (pop.23, 743).

4.) Kitui West with a total population of 102,314 comprises of four Wards that is Mutonguni (pop.34, 140), Kauwi (pop.25, 385), Matinyani (pop.24, 081), and Kwamutonga/Kithumula (pop.18, 708).

5.) Kitui Central with a total population of 131,715 comprises of five Wards that is Miambani (pop.22, 164), Township (pop.26, 016), Kyangwithya West (pop.22, 121), Mulango (pop.28, 573) and Kyangwithya East (pop.32, 841).

6.) Kitui Rural with a total population of 104,443 comprises of four Wards that is Kisasi (pop.26, 759), Mbitini (pop.24, 858), Kwavonza/Yatta (pop.30, 732), and Kanyangi (pop.22, 094).

7.) Kitui East with a total population of 123,239 comprises of six Wards that is Zombe/Mwitika (pop.25, 452), Nzambani (pop.18, 126), Chuluni (pop.22, 046), Voo/Kyamatu (pop.23, 011), Endau/Malalani (pop.15, 506), and Mutitu/Kaliku (pop.15,506).

8.) Kitui South with a total population of 166,050 comprises of six Wards that is Ikanga/Kyatune (pop.36, 185), Mutomo (pop.24, 450), Mutha (pop.25, 138), Ikutha (pop.26, 176), Kanziko (18,664) and Athi (pop.35, 437).

Two constituencies were added during the 2012 IEBC delimitation of constituency and Ward boundaries.

Registered Voters: 351,800 (As per 2010 Registration; this number is expected to be over 400,000 by 2012).
Kitui registered voters as a percentage of National total: 2.8%.

Current Administrative Districts as at May 2012: 16 (Kitui Central, Katulani, Kisasi, Mutomo, Ikutha, Muumoni, Tseikuru, Kyuso, Mwingi Central, Migwani, Mwingi East, Kitui West, Matinyani, Lower Yatta, Nzambani, and Mutito).

History of Kitui County
Local people are mostly of the Akamba tribe. According to most sources, the Kamba, who were hunters at the time, arrived in present-day Machakos from south of Mt Kilimanjaro around 1600 and eventually settled permanently in the Mbooni Hills. Here they first became consolidated as a separate people and turned increasingly to agriculture. Eventually, overcrowding forced a move into the bush, and the traditional land-use system of integrating highland agriculture with lowland cattle-grazing came into being.

Cattle owners led the settlement of dry frontier lands, attracted to the superior grazing on the plains. They began these settlements as cattle posts but later established permanent villages. The Kamba retained integrated highland/lowland, crop/livestock systems of land use, which spread risk and ensured group survival. The system was flexible, equitable, and geared to the community as a whole.

Sisal used in traditional weaving

The traditional land-use system was well adapted to the difficult climate and physical environment. Integrated crop/livestock systems, spatially separated holdings, and mutual reciprocity arrangements served to spread risk and to provide mechanisms for coping with drought. It is worth noting that drought was always a feature of life in this region, long before the effects of man-made climate change came to be considered.

Kamba adaptability can also be seen, in that their traditional use of land displayed a readiness to expand, intensify, relocate, or supplement their farming and livestock production activities in response to the changing economic and ecological conditions at local and national level.

Education in Kitui County
Number of Institutions (2007): Primary schools (1,096), Secondary schools (181).

Primary: Enrolment (328,528).
Teacher to pupil ratio: 1:34 (public schools).
Secondary: Enrolment (46,100).
Teacher to Pupil Ratio: 1:34 (Public schools).
Tertiary: Over 60 (Comprises of University Satellite Campuses, Youth Polytechnics, Teacher Training colleges, Medical training college, Technical colleges, and several Commercial colleges).
University Campuses /Colleges: South Eastern University College (SEUCO), Kenyatta University Campus both in Kwavonza lower Yatta and Moi University Campus at Kyuso in Mwingi North Constituency.

Children of Kitui

Health in Kitui County
Health facilities: 261- District hospitals (3), Sub-district Hospitals (8), Dispensaries (189), Health Centers (23), Medical Clinics (30), Nursing Homes (5), others (3).

Doctor to population Ratio: 1:16,047 (in the Old Kitui District) 1:50,701 (in the Old Mwingi District).

Kamba Social Structure and Culture
The Kamba were originally grouped into some 25 dispersed patrilineal clans (utui) of varying size, which were often mutually hostile. Their social and territorial boundaries were flexible, and the system seems more to have been a response to fluid geographical groupings rather than strictly determined by ancestry or tradition. There seem to have been few if any institutions of centralized political authority, although in times of external threat, military action could be coordinated across the whole tribe.

Clan meetings are called mbai, and through them political matters that affected the whole tribe were decided.
Traditional Kamba religion resembles that of many Bantu-speaking peoples, such as the Kikuyu, in that there is one supreme god, usually conceived of as male and who can be prayed or sacrificed to, and the existence of spirits.
The Kamba consider the heavens and the earth to be the Father’s ‘equal-sized bowls’: they are his property both by creation and rights of ownership; and they contain his belongings, including livestock, which he lowered from the sky and gave (perhaps ‘lent’ is more correct) to the Kamba. Nowadays Christianity is the major religion amongst the Kamba people and the population is almost 90% Christian. In the Kitui Diocesan area, approximately 14 to 15% of the population is Roman Catholic.

As in many sedentary pastoralist societies, Kamba marriage practices include the exchange of cattle as a form of bridewealth payment.

In most cases, the high value of cattle reinforce the authority of older men, as sons usually needed help from their fathers to acquire enough cattle to marry, and inheritance only occurred upon the father’s death. The extended family (musyi) forms the basic unit of life among the Kamba, as they share the same lands.

The houses are built within the lands, and were traditionally round and thatched to the ground. Nowadays, they’re more likely to be rectangular structures built of bricks and breezeblocks, topped with corrugated metal roofs. Colonialism subverted Kenya’s cultures and indigenous educational, legal and political systems. For example, missionaries denounced and colonial authorities progressively restricted and banned wathi – the regular gatherings and celebrations held by the Kamba.

The colonialists assailed the local religions, denying them any validity or usefulness, and maligning them as “heathen”. Even medicine men were vilified as mere witch doctors. Converts to the new religions had to renounce fully their ancestors’ religions. Nonetheless, the inter-war years saw a huge influx of Kamba into the armed services and the Kenya police, especially into the King’s African Rifles, which drew soldiers from all of Britain’s African colonies. Between 1943 and 1946, nearly one-third of all employed Kamba males were in the military, and were represented in the King’s African Rifles at a rate of three to four times their percentage of the overall Kenyan population


Road Network: Bitumen surface (Data not available), Gravel surface (1072.2km).

Climate of Kitui County
Temperatures ranges from a minimum of 140C to a maximum of 340C. The rainfall ranges from 500mm to 1050mm per annum in different parts of the County.

Economy of Kitui County
Poverty Level: 63%.

Age Dependency Ratio: 100:108.
Resources: Arable land, Wildlife, Livestock, Forests, Minerals (Large deposits of Coal and limestone in Mui basin and Mutomo/Ikutha respectivel).
Tourist Attractions: Mwingi National Reserve, Kora National Reserve and Tsavo East National Park.
Financial Services: 7 Commercial Banks, and 12 Microfinance institutions.
Main Economic Activities/Industries: Livestock keeping, Tobacco, Cotton, Mangoes, Commercial Businesses.
Agricultural Products: Livestock Products, Maize, Beans, Sorghum, Pigeon peas, Cowpeas, Cassava, Millet, and Green grams.

Last updated: 15.10.2013

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