Makueni County number 017 is located in the South Eastern part of Kenya and borders four counties with Kitui County to the east, Taita Taveta County to the south, Kajiado County to the west and Machakos County to the north.
It lies between Latitude 10 35´ and 30 00 South and Longitude 37010´ and 380 30´East.
It covers an area of 8,034.7Km2.
The county has one major town, Wote which is its capital. Other major urban centres includes; Mtito Andei, Sultan Hamud, Emali, Machinery and Kibwezi. The total combined urban area in the county is 594Km2. All the towns and urban centres except Wote are located along the Mombasa-Nairobi highway which influenced their emergence and their economic activities.
The County is currently divided into nine sub-counties and twenty five divisions. The sub counties are: Makueni, Kilungu, Mukaa, Kibwezi, Kathonzweni, Makindu, Mbooni East, Mbooni West and Nzaui.
According to the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census the population was 884,527 with a population density of 110.4 people per Km2 and an annual growth rate of 2.8%. Age Distribution was 0-14 years 43.7%, 15-64 years 51.1% and over 65 years 5.2%.
The County experiences two rainy seasons, the long rains occurring in March and April while the short rains occur in November and December. The hilly parts of Mbooni and Kilungu receive 800-1200mm of rainfall per year with temperatures ranging from 20.20C to 24.60C. The low lying areas receive 150mm to 650mm of rainfall per annum and high temperatures of 35.80C typical of ASALs in Kenya.
The County has a total road network of 3,203.5Km of which 453.8Kms is bitumen, 555.2Kms gravel, and 2,198.6Kms surface roads. The main roads in the county are Katumani-Wote-Makindu road, Masii-Mbumbuni road, Salama-Kikoko and Mombasa road. The bitumen roads are in fairly good condition but most of the gravel and surface roads are in poor state which makes them impassable during rain seasons.
The county is traversed by a railway line which covers 140 kms. Major railway stations are Makindu, Kibwezi, Mtito-Andei and Emali. It also have has one airstrip situated in Makindu and it is operational.
Education and Literacy:
The County has 1,510 Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres with a total enrolment of 41,820 composed of 21,922 boys and 19,898 girls and 1315 teachers. The teacher pupil ratio is 1:25. There is a high retention rate of 94.4 per cent and average of two years of attendance.
It has 982 primary schools out of which 914 are government owned while 68 are private owned. The total enrolment is 269,752 pupils and 7,242 teachers which translate into a teacher pupil ratio of 1:37.
By the year 2012 there were 339 secondary schools with a total enrolment of 75,985 and a retention rate of 86 per cent. With a total of 2300 teachers, the county has a teacher pupil ratio of 1:33. The transition rate from primary to secondary school is 60% while Gross Enrolment rate stands at 76.6%.
There are Twenty Eight (28) Public Registered Youth Polytechnics in Makueni County, 7 tertiary institutions and two university satellite campuses.
There are five commercial banks in the county. The banks are in turn supported by bank agents and mobile money transfer agents spread across the major towns of the county. There are four Microfinance-institutions operating also in the major towns and one village bank (KWFT). There are limited SACCOS in the county due to limited formal employment with the teachers SACCO being the largest.
There are a total of 152 health facilities spread across the county. There is Makueni level five hospital in Wote town, six level four hospitals at Kilungu, Makindu, Mbooni, Kibwezi, Mukaa and Nzaui. The county also has 21 level three, 113 dispensaries and eleven private clinics in the county.
The bed capacity in the county stands at 616 and doctor population ratio is 1:22,712. There are nine VCTs and 138 counsellors in the county. The average household distance to health facility is six Kilometres.
Prevalent Diseases: Malaria, flu, stomach-ache, upper and lower respiratory diseases, diarrhoea and HIV/Aids.
Kyulu Hills and history of AIC Church in Nzaui District. The County shares a small part of Tsavo National park in the southern border with Taita Taveta, in Kibwezi West Constituency. It is considered as one of the world’s biodiversity strongholds. It is home to diverse wildlife species which include the famous ‘big five’ consisting of lion, black rhino, cape buffalo, red elephant and leopard. The park also has a great variety of bird life such as the black Kite, crowned crane, lovebird and the sacred Ibis among others.
Agriculture is the predominant economic activity in the county. The county has a total arable land of 5042.69Km2 which is 74 percent of the total area. Most of the land is used for agricultural purposes as most people depend on agriculture and livestock for their livelihood. Horticulture and dairy farming is mostly practiced in the hilly parts of Kilungu and Mbooni west sub counties. The lowlands which include Kathonzweni, Mbooni East, Nzaui and Makueni sub counties are used for livestock keeping, cotton and fruit production.
Major crops grown include maize, green grams, pigeon peas and sorghum. Fruits grown are mainly mangoes, pawpaw and oranges. There is an upcoming fruit processing plant at Wote town to process the fruits as well as a ginnery for cotton processing.
Animals reared include dairy cattle, beef cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys, poultry, pigs, bees and fish.
The total area under forest cover in the county is 191Km2, which includes 151Km2 of the five Gazetted forests which are Nthangu, Makuli, Mbooni, Kilungu and Kibwezi forests and 40Km2 of the three non-gazetted forests. The main forest products are timber, poles and fencing posts. The other notable forest products are charcoal, wood carvings, seedlings, wood fuel, pastures, resins and medicinal products.
Other economic activities include Sand harvesting. It however remains illegal in the county making it hard to get the data on amount harvested and personnel employed in this informal sector. Other minerals include limestone, granite, gypsum, and Quartz in Kibwezi West Constituency though their commercial viability has not been established.
With the adoption of the new constitution in 2010 which ushered in the devolved system of governance, the Governor is the Executive authority in the County together with his deputy, the Senator is to represent the County at the Senate and through affirmation of women and youth rights, the Woman Representative is to represent the County’s women and youth issues at the National Assembly.
GOVERNOR : KIVUTHA KIBWANA
DEPUTY GOVERNOR : ADELINA NDETO MWAU
SENATOR : MUTULA KILONZO JUNIOR
WOMEN REPRESENTATIVE : ROSE MUSEO MUMO
Makueni County has six (6) constituencies, which are further divided into 30 electoral wards. Makueni Constituency has the highest number of wards with 9, followed by Mbooni with 6, Kaiti, Kibwezi East and Kibwezi West with 4 and Kilome with 3.