Kitui

Kitui County Profile 

Kitui County is named after Kamba ironsmiths who occupied the region prior to the colonial period. The County covers approximately 30,496 square kilometers and shares its borders with seven counties. Kitui County has eight administrative sub-counties. They include: Kitui West Sub County; Kitui Central Sub County; Kitui Rural Sub County; Kitui South Sub County; Kitui East Sub County; Mwingi North Sub County; Mwingi West Sub County; and Mwingi Central Sub County.

Ever since the formation of Kitui County, the administrative County has had two governors.  The first Governor was HE Governor Julius Malombe, while the incumbent is Charity Kaluki Ngilu deputized by Gideon Nzau Wathe. 

Notably, Kitui County is the first county within the Kamba Nation to have elected a female governor and is the first county to have experienced the leadership of two different governors in the first ten years after the implementation of devolution. 

Geographical Location 

Kitui County is located 170 Kilometers in the South East of Nairobi County. Its neighboring counties include Tharaka Nithi County and Meru County to the North, Embu County to the North East, Machakos and Makueni to the West, Tana River to the East, and Southeast, while Taita-Taveta lies to the South. 

Kitui County’s Economic Activities and Investment Opportunities

Kitui town has a huge potential for commercial activities and it is a financial hub for the surrounding sub-counties.

Trade:
Kitui was historically known as a center for long-distance traders owing to the good relations with neighboring communities. For the people of Kitui, trade is still a major economic activity. They trade locally produced foodstuffs as well as fine art such as woodcarvings, basketry, and pottery, targeting the local and international tourists.   

Tourism:
Tourism is a major boost to the economy of Kitui County. Mwingi, for instance, is mapped as the largest town next to the LAPSSET corridor and has major potential for tourism activities. Kitui County boasts some of the top tourist destinations in Kenya. Among the top tourist destinations within Kitui County include: 

  • Tsavo East National Park
  • South Kitui National Reserve
  • Nzambani Rock
  • Mwingi National Reserve
  • Nuu Hills
  • Ikoo Valley
  • Kulalu Ranch
  • Mumoni Hills 
  • Kanyonyoo Sanctuary
  • Ngomeni Rock Catchment and Conservancy 

In addition, there are several restaurants within Kitui County offering a five-star experience. Moreover, the County has a good road network connecting it to Machakos County and Makueni County. 

Mining:
The County is also a hub for business ventures anchored on its natural resources. Mui Basin, for example, is a potential coal-mining region as well as for limestone mining. 

Challenges in Kitui County
Kitui County is characterized by water scarcity, food insecurity, a high rate of poverty, and environmental degradation. These challenges can be attributed to the rapid population growth and climate change. 

When it comes to developments, Kitui County is way below the national average, based on various socio-economic indicators. For instance, when it comes to the Human Development Index, Kitui stood at 0.53 compared to Machakos County at 0.54 and 0.56 for Makueni County.  

The County continues to experience serious water scarcity challenges owing to the diminished water supply as a result of recurring droughts. Environmental degradation including human activities like deforestation have worsened the water scarcity challenges. As the population keeps growing, the county will keep experiencing degradation of the upstream catchment as people seek to expand the agricultural land. Destruction of forests due to dependence on wood fuels and low forestation levels will have severe consequences on the ecosystem and result in food insecurity. 

Progresses Made in Kitui County
Following its mandate, as enshrined in the 2010 constitution of the Republic of Kenya, the County Government of Kitui is developing long-term development blueprint dubbed “Kitui Vision for Economic and Social Transformation”. The development plan focuses on guiding the County Government on addressing the economic and social problems facing the people of Kitui County. The long-term development plan covers various economic and investment zones as established in the year 2013. The various economic and investment zones shall include:

Progresses Made in Kitui County
Following its mandate, as enshrined in the 2010 constitution of the Republic of Kenya, the County Government of Kitui is developing long-term development blueprint dubbed “Kitui Vision for Economic and Social Transformation”. The development plan focuses on guiding the County Government on addressing the economic and social problems facing the people of Kitui County. The long-term development plan covers various economic and investment zones as established in the year 2013. The various economic and investment zones shall include:

  • Kyuso-Mumoni-Tsekuru Economic and Investment Zone 
  • Mui-Basin Economic and Investment Zone
  • Mwingi Town and Environs Economic and Investment Zone
  • Kitui County Headquarters and Environs Economic and Investment Zone
  • Kanyangi-Kwa Vonza-Kanyonyoo Economic and Investment Zone
  • Mutomo-Ikutha-Kanziko Economic and Investment Zone

The Kitui County Government accords priority to five pillars focused on attaining the socio-economic and political transformation of Kitui County. The five pillars are:

  • Food security and water
  • Universal health coverage
  • Education and training 
  • Empowerment of women, youth and persons with disabilities
  • Environment 
  • Wealth creation

The pillar on wealth creation focuses on the expansion of the manufacturing sector in line with the Kitui Vision for Economic and Social Transformation. Moreover, the County Government focuses on supporting programs targeting value addition in Agriculture, and livestock industries. 

Further, it is recognized that for the county government to address the issue of food security, access to clean water should be a priority. Therefore, programs targeting the extension of water piping, drilling of boreholes, and water harvesting require more attention. 

Apart from food security and the question of access to clean water, the county government is focusing on investing in programs that promote education and training as well as the empowerment of special groups. 

While the County Government of Kitui is doing as much to help with poverty alleviation, lack of enough funding is a major issue. Over the period 2014/15-2016/17, the local revenue collection averaged at about 53 percent of the annual targets. Therefore, the underperformance poses a serious threat to smooth budget implementation. Consequently, rural citizens will not receive much-needed assistance, which means they will continue languishing in poverty. 

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