Kakamega County number 037 is located in Western Kenya bordering Bungoma County to the North, Trans Nzoia County to the North East, Uasin Gishu County and Nandi County to the East, Vihiga County to the South, Siaya County to the South West and Busia County to the West.
It lies 50km north of Kisumu City and is home to Mumias Sugar Company, the largest sugar-producing company in Kenya.
Its capital and largest town is Kakamega town. Other major towns are Mumias Town.
According to the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census, the population was 1,660,651 with a population density of 515 people per Km2 and an annual growth rate of 2.12%. Age Distribution was 0-14 years 46.6%, 15-64 years 49.7% and over 65 years 3.6%.
The major attraction in the County is Kakamega Forest Reserve, in Shinyalu Division of Kakamega District. It is a world-famous equatorial rainforest and the only rain forest in Kenya covering 240km2 and known for its diversity of bird and insect life with over 300 species of birds and 400 butterflies’ species, many of which can only be found here. It also has over 350 species of indigenous trees and plants, some of which are exploited for medicinal use by the locals such as the Mysopsis Eminee, locally known as Mama Mutere, which has a multitude of medicinal qualities that are believed to help cure ailments such as prostate cancer and stomach aches.
The reserve is also home to 27 species of snakes and is home to debrazza monkey. Other primates can also be found here. Other wildlife includes bush pig, duikers, bushbuck, clawless otter, mongoose, giant water shrew, squirrels, tree pangolin, porcupine and bats.
The other attraction is the legendary Weeping Stone of Maragoli, located at llesi along the Kisumu-Kakamega Highway. This is a huge rock from which a constant stream of water cascades. It is connected with many legends and myths and is associated with a good harvest.
Temperatures range from a minimum of 10.3°C to a maximum of 30.8°C with an average of 20.5°C. The rainfall ranges between 1,250 – 1,750 mm per annum.
Bitumen Surface (Data Not Available), Gravel Surface 323.8Km and Earth Surface 267.3Km.
Education and Literacy
As at 2007, the County had 460 Primary schools with an enrolment of 219,734 pupils and a teacher to pupil ratio of 1: 51 and 145 Secondary schools with an enrolment of 18,320 pupils and a teacher to pupil ratio of 1:26.
Tertiary institutions in the county are more than 12.
5 Commercial Banks and 3 Micro-finance Institutions provide the people with financial services.
Kakamega County has 214 health facilities with 1 Level Five Hospital, 4 District Hospitals, 7 Sub-District Hospitals, 101 Dispensaries, 40 Health Centres, 43 Medical Clinics, 10 Nursing homes, 1 Maternity Homes and 7 uncategorized institutions.
The most prevalent diseases in the county are Malaria, Diarrhoea Skin Diseases, Respiratory Tract Infections.
Notable hospitals include Kakamega Level Five Hospital, Butere, Iguhu, Malava, and Lumakanda District Hospitals.
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 the affirmation of women and youth rights, the Woman Representative is to represent the County’s women and youth issues at the National Assembly.
GOVERNOR: WYCLIFFE AMBETSA OPARANYA
DEPUTY GOVERNOR: PHILIP MUSEVE KUTIMA
SENATOR: CLEOPHAS WAKHUNGU MALALA
WOMEN REPRESENTATIVE: ELSIE BUSIHILE MUHANDA
Kakamega County has eleven (12) constituencies divided into 60 electoral wards. Malava has the highest number of wards with 7, followed by Lugari, Lurambi and Shinyalu with 6, Likuyani Navakholo, Matungu and Butere has 5 each, Mumias West, Khwisero and Ikolomani 4 each while Mumias East Constituency has the least with 3 wards.
The major economic activities include Large-Scale Sugarcane farming, Mixed Farming and Commercial businesses. Agricultural products include Maize, Beans, Millet, Sugarcane, Tea, Dairy Products Sunflower, Soya beans.
The County lies in the sugar belt and is home to Mumias Sugar Company, the largest sugar-producing factory in Kenya.
The county is synonymous with the ‘Boda- Boda’ (bicycle and motorcycle taxis) transport business which is also picking up in other parts of the country as the preferred transportation mode for short-distance travel.
Gold mining is also practised using antiquated techniques, therefore does not make enough income for the miners and is also a very risky venture.