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Overview of Kitui County

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 had a population of 155,896 in 2009 making it the 12th largest urban centre in Kenya in terms of population. A large majority of the residents belong to the Kamba, a Bantu people. The Kamba of Kenya speak the Bantu Kamba Language (Kikamba) as a mother tongue. Kitui is also inhabited by several other Kenyan communities like the Luo, Somali, Kikuyu and people from the Coastal Region.

Kitui is widely known in Kenya for producing a majority of the country’s top legal minds. These include former Chief Justices Kitili Maluki Mwendwa (1968–1971) and Dr. Willy Mutunga (2011–2016), State University of New York (SUNY) Distinguished Professor Makau W. Mutua, and former Law Society of Kenya Chairman, Erick Mutua.

The major secondary schools around Kitui town are Kitui School, St. Charles Lwanga High School, Mulango Girls’ High School, St. Angela’s High School, St. Ursula Tungutu Girls Secondary School, Chuluni Girls’ Secondary School, Matinyani Secondary School and St. Aquinas Kalawa Boys’ Secondary School. The major public primary schools in Kitui town include Central Primary School, Muslim Primary School, Manyenyoni primary school, Kaveta Primary School, Kalawa Primary School, Ngiini Primary School, Kwa Ngindu Primary School among others. There are also several private schools in the Kitui town.

Kitui County is home to several Universities and Colleges.

  • South Eastern Keya University (SEKU) – The University is a fully fledged University and is the successor to the South Eastern University College (SEUCO) which was a Constituent College of the University of Nairobi.The University is a premier institution of higher learning in the region offering various certificate, diploma and degree programmes. SEKU envisions becoming a World Class University with quality teaching, creative learning, innovative research and strong community outreach.
  • Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC)
  • Kenyatta University – Kitui Campus

Kitui County has 242 health facilities with Kitui Level V Hospital and 13 Level IV Hospitals Namely Mwingi Level IV Hospital, Tseikuru Level IV Hospital, Kyuso Level IV Hospital, Nuu Level IV Hospital, Migwani Level IV Hospital, Kauwi Level IV Hospital, Katulani Leve IV Hospital, Kanyangi Level IV Hospital, Ikanga Level IV Hospital, Mutomo Level IV Hospital, Ikutha Level IV Hospital, Zombe Level IV Hospital.

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.

  • South Kitui National Reserve
  • Mwingi National Reserve
  • Ikoo Valley
  • Ngomeni Rock Catchment.

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 season

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. Mutomo/Ikutha district contains limestone.

Like many Bantus the Akamba were originally hunters and gatherers, became long distance traders because of their knowledge of the expansive area they inhabited and good relations with neighbouring communities as well as excellent communication skills, later adopted subsitence farming and pastoralism due to the availability of the new land that they came to occupy. The Akamba traded in locally produced goods such as sugar cane wine, ivory, brass amulets, tools and weapons, millet, and cattle. The food obtained from trading helped offset shortages caused by droughts and famines experienced in their Kamba land. They also traded in medicinal products known as ‘Miti’ (literally: plants), made from various parts of the numerous medicinal plants found on the Southeast African plains. Maingi Ndonye Mbithi, commonly referred by his peers and locals as Kanyi, from Kimutwa village in Machakos was best known for his concoction of herbs mixed with locally fermented brew (kaluvu) with the ability to heal cancerous boils (Mi’imu). The Akamba are still known for their fine work in wood carving, basketry and pottery and the products . Their artistic inclination is evidenced in the sculpture work that is on display in many craft shops and galleries in the major cities and towns of Kenya. In the mid-eighteenth century, a large number of Akamba pastoral groups moved eastwards from the Tsavo and Kibwezi areas to the coast. This migration was the result of extensive drought and lack of pasture for their cattle. They settled in the Mariakani, Kinango, Kwale, Mombasa West (Changamwe and Chaani) and Mombasa North (Kisauni) areas of the coast of Kenya, creating the beginnings of urban settlement. They are still found in large numbers in these towns, and have been absorbed into the cultural, economic and political life of the modern-day Coast Province. Several notable businessmen and women, politicians, as well as professional men and women are direct descendants of these itinerant pastoralists

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#Tembea Kitui. "No Vaa"

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