State of Our Nation
The 2019 National Census Report revealed that there are over 4.6 Million Akamba people living within the boundaries of Kenya, making the Kamba Nation the fifth largest ethnic group in Kenya.
Ukambani is blessed with a vast land territory that features impressive landscapes including the Yatta plateau, which is among the longest lava streams of the world. Others include the spectacular Fourteen Falls and the Ol Doinyo Sabuk Mountain. Indeed, Ukambani is home to some of the most spectacular attractions found in East Africa and is thus a notable tourist destination in Kenya.
Nevertheless, while Ukambani is home to some of the most amazing Kenyan tourism attractions, these have not been leveraged for the economic wellbeing of its people. The Kamba nation is mired in grinding poverty. A recent report by the Kenya Integrated Budget Survey put the poverty rate in Machakos at 43%, in Kitui at 40%, and in Makueni at 35%. This stacks poorly against the national average of 36%. Clearly, the greater Kamba nation is lagging behind and remains among the most poverty-stricken regions of Kenya.
This sad reality is compounded by the fact that Ukambani is a predominantly semi-arid area with no meaningful agricultural or industrial base to drive its economic advancement. The result is that agriculture in Ukambani is primarily subsistence farming. Apart from the bitter poverty that affects the average Mkamba, Kamba women have to wrestle with the additional burdens of gender inequality, grossly insufficient social services, sparse infrastructure, perennial food insecurity, and limited access to drinking water. Unfortunately, these realities extend throughout the entire Kamba Nation.
However, the Kamba Nation has made a few strides since the promulgation of the Constitution in 2010. Prior to the 2010 constitution, Ukambani, like the rest of rural Kenya, experienced disparities in accessing capital to undertake major infrastructural developments. The 2010 constitution brought devolved government, giving birth to Machakos, Kitui and Makueni counties. Now, each of these counties enjoys independent homegrown leadership, which has been able to tackle issues that are unique to the Kamba Nation in an unprecedented manner.