UKOMBOZI UMEFIKA: Making Trans Nzoia Great Again

george natembeya

bineah philomenah chebetibin



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Trans Nzoia county covers an area of 2,495 .6 square kilometers. It has a population of 99oa41 comprising of 489,107 males and 501,206 females (Kenya Population and Housing Census, 2019). Ac­ cording to the population census data, fifty one percent of the county population is below the age of 18 years while the youth comprise 28 percent of the population. Projections indicate that the population will rise to 1,103,256 in 2022 and about 1.5 million people by 2030. (Source; County planning office, 2022).


Agriculture is the main stay of the county economy and employs over 80 percent of the population. As more young people enter the workforce, the pressure on available employment opportunities is expected to grow. Though the county is blessed with good climate and abundant natural resources, it bears the marks of one of Kenya's worst set of health indicators and high poverty rate of 34 percent compared to the national poverty rate of 36.1 percent (Kenya Integrated Household Budget survey 2015/16, KNBS). The county food poverty rate is 33.3 percent which is higher than the national food poverty of 32 percent yet Trans Nzoia is generally regarded as being Kenya's bread basket.


The major roads transversing the county are Webuye-Kitale-Lodwar-South Sudan Border international trunk road, Eldoret-Kitale, Kitale- Endebess-Suam Border, Kitale -Kachibora roads as well as class D and unclassified county roads. Additionally, the county has one functional airstrip at Kambi­ miwa which requires expansion and modernisation. However, the 23 km old colonial railway line that connects from Eldoret and terminates at Kitale is non-functional.


According to the CIDP (2018-2022), Trans-Nzoia county has 715 ECDE centres (public and private), 648 primary schools, 261 secondary Schools, 1 national polytechnic, 3 technical training centres, 2 medical training Colleges, 31 vocational training Centres, 4 private accredited Colleges, 1 teacher training college for P1 and 16 ECDE training Centres. The county has no university.

Two of Kenya's five water towers, Mt.Elgon and Cherangany are found in the county. Mt. Elgon the second highest mountain in Kenya, is an important ecosystem shared between Trans Nzoia and Bungoma counties in Kenya and the Republic of Uganda hence it is a unique resource for environ­ mental and wildlife conservation. Additionally, river Nzoia which drains into Lake Victoria originates from Cherangany hills. The river catchments and its tributaries are however threatened by encroachment and other human activities.


The largest natural forest cover in the county is found in Mt. Elgon and the Cherang'any hills. How­ ever, continued pressure from human activities has significantly affected the forest cover. The county forests are critical to the climatic conditions of the territorial boundaries of the county and beyond as they are the water catchments for lakes Turkana and Victoria.

The county has high potential for tourism with several tourism attractions. There are two national parks (Mt Elgon and Saiwa), Kitale national museum, heritage sites (community cultural centres, historical sites, community landscapes and sceneries). The parks fall within the western Kenya tourism circuit that the Kenya Vision 2030 has identified in the underutilized parks initiative.