Kitui County is a county in the former Eastern Province of Kenya. Its capital and largest town is Kitui, although Mwingi is also another major urban centre. The county has a population of 1,136,187 (2019 census). and an area of 30,430 km2.It lies between latitudes 0°10 South and 3°0 South and longitudes 37°50 East and 39°0 East.
The name Kitui means ‘a place where iron goods are made’ The Kamba iron-smiths who settled in the county many years before the colonial period are the ones who named the area Kitui.
Kitui county has a total population of 1,136,187 of which 549,003 are males, 587,151 females and33 intersex persons. There are 262,942 household with an average household size of 4.3 persons per household and a population density 37 people per square kilometre
The population is mostly made up of people of the Akamba ethnicity. Tharaka people, a section of the Ameru, are also found in Kitui County mainly in Tharaka ward. There is also a growing Somali presence
Administration and Political Units
There are eight sub counties, forty county assembly wards, one hundred and sixty seven locations and four hundred and eleven sub-locations.
Further, the sub-counties are divided into smaller units called wards. There are 40 wards which are further divided into 247 villages.
The climate is semi-arid; it receives roughly 71 cm (28 inches). A significant point however is that rainfall occurs practically only during the rainy seasons (one long around March & April, and one short, around October,November and December). The terms Long and Short Rains has nothing to do with amount of rainfall received but rather on the length of the rainy seasons.
There are 1826 ECD centres 1476 primary schools and 384 secondary schools. The county has also 5 teachers training colleges, 311 adult training institutions and 1 technical training institutions.
Teachers Training Colleges
Technical Training Institutes
Adult Education Centres
Kitui School and Muthale Girls are the only national schools in Kitui County. Other major secondary schools are St. Charles Lwanga Secondary School, Kyuso Boys Sec, St. Joseph’s Seminary at Mwingi, St, Benedict Ikutha Boys’ high school, Kisasi Boys’ Secondary School, Matinyani Boys’ Secondary, Mutonguni Secondary School, St. Luke’s Yatta Boys’ Secondary School,Katheka boys high school (St Aquinas) Mutito Boys’ Secondary School and Mwingi Boys’ Secondary School. Major girls’ schools include Mulango Girls’ High School, St. Angela’s High School,Mbitini Girls’ Secondary School, Chuluni Girls’ Secondary School, Mutito Girls’ Secondary School and Mutomo Girls’ Secondary School. Other notable secondary schools are St.Ursula Girls-Tungutu, St. Aquinas Kyangwithya Boys, Nzambani Boys, Maliku Girls, Thitani Girls, Zombe Girls, Migwani Boys, Katheka Boys, Kabaa secondary school and St. Lawrence Kaluva Secondary School
Kathungi Secondary School, which is also found in Kitui County, is famous for its football championship in the country. Kathungi were the 2013 national silver medalists. Alongside the national champions Upper Hill, they represented Kenya in East Africa Secondary School games held in Lira, Uganda.
There are a total of 256 health facilities in the county with one county referral hospital. County has 2,084 health personnel of different cadre.
HIV prevalence is at 4.2% below the national 5.9%.
Kitui County has several hospitals and health centres to meet the health needs of residents, among them Kitui County Referral Hospital, Mwingi Sub-County General Hospital, Kitui Nursing Home, Neema Hospital, Jordan Hospital, mission-run hospitals such as Muthale Mission hospital and some private health centres.
The vast majority of the economy is based on sustenance farming, despite the fact that the agriculture is an extremely challenging endeavor giving the sporadic rainfall. A logical move therefore would be a transition to non-agricultural industries
During a recent, informal survey of the businesses in the town of Ikutha in southern Kitui County, the following businesses were identified:
Food Staples (rice, corn meal)
Mini-markets (sells things like Coca-Cola, potato chips, bread, long-shelf milk)
Hotels and restaurants
Situated in Kitui town is a cotton ginnery where cotton farmers from around the county can deliver their harvest. It is the only major industry in the region, and was set up way back in 1935. Kitui is a semi-arid region and not many crops fare well there apart from cotton, hence the ginnery plays a major role creating income for the many cotton farmers in the region.
Kitui county has large deposits of coal in Mui Basin, having low energy content/calorific value, meaning it produces less heat when burned. It also has sulphur. The coal could potentially supply the 1,000 MW Lamu Coal Power Station, and the 960-megawatt (MW) Kitui coal plant.
Nzambani Rock is one of the tourist attractions in Kitui County
Also in Kitui county is one of the largest Rock outcrops in Kenya which is locally known as “Ivia ya Nzambani”. Situated past Kitui Town, about 1 km from Chuluni Market is the Nzambani Rock which is famous for the tales and myths of its origin. Activities here include hiking and rock climbing.
Religion and traditional culture
Christianity is the dominant religion in Kitui County. Roman Catholics make about 15% of the county’s population. Other Christian denominations in the county include The Africa Brotherhood Church (ABC), the African Inland Church (AIC), Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK), Presbyterian Church of East Africa (PCEA), Independent Presbyterian Church (IPC), Redeemed Gospel Church and many others. Kitui county has a significant number of Muslims and several mosques can be spotted around the county’s major urban centres. Few people in the county still hold on to traditional beliefs. They believe in a god called Mulungu or Ngai – the creator of everything on Earth.
Dr. Willy Munyoki Mutunga, the former Chief Justice, hails from Kitui County
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