Saturday, 21 April 2012


Kisii Township is a city to be found in south-western Kenya. It is the key urban and commercial centre in the Gusii Highlands. The Kisii municipality has a populace of about 83,000, according to 2008 estimates; however, it has a large dependent metropolitan population of over 100,000 residents, as per the latest national population and housing census of 2009. Kisii town is the capital of the Kisii County. Formerly the headquarters of the original and larger Kisii District before it was split to create Nyamira a district located in the north and Gucha, a district located in the south. Moreover, with the passing and the promulgation of the new Kenya Constitution in August 27, 2010, Gucha District was re-absorbed back into Kisii County whereas Nyamira District has since been renamed Nyamira County. Today, it is a bustling town and a home to several businesses, organizations, educational institutions and government agencies. Kisii municipality sits right at the centre of the Western Kenya tourist circuit that includes the Tabaka Soapstone Carvings, Maasai Mara Game Reserve, Lambwe Valley Game Reserve and the entire Lake Victoria basin. The town continues to serve these former districts, the larger South Nyanza County and the Trans Mara area of western Narok County in terms of commerce.

NOTE: 237.337996692 kilometers is the distance between NAIROBI (the capital city of Kenya) and KISII.
Other figures roughly put that figure to be:
The Distance between Jomo Kenyatta Airport Nairobi (Nairobi Area) and Kisii (Nyanza) is :
250.96 kilometers (km).
The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 288.6 km to 313.7 km

In Other Units:
155.94 miles. The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 179.33 miles to 194.92 miles
135.42 nautical miles. The approximately estimated travel/road distance can be around 155.73 nautical miles to 169.27 nautical miles
Note: The distance is straight line distance (may be called as flying or air distance) between the two locations calculated based on their latitudes and longitudes. This distance may be very much different from the actual travel distance. The approximately estimated travel/road distance also can be very much different (if road is not straight or land is not available) than the actual. Please see below map for better idea.

Kisii town is originally known by the Gusii community as 'Bosongo'. It is believed to have originated from 'Abasongo' (to mean the White people or Whites) who lived in the town during the colonial times. The town was originally established by British soldiers who were being forced to retreat from Lake Victoria by heavy gunfire from German soldiers' gunboats during the Great War in the early 20th Century [citation needed].
The town is predominantly inhabited by the Gusii community (also known as the Kisii), a Bantu people.
The Kisii are regarded as one of the most economically active communities in Kenya, with rolling tea estates, coffee, and banana groves. However, Kisii district has a very high population density. It is one of the most densely populated areas in Kenya (after the two cities of Nairobi and Mombasa), and the most densely populated rural area. It also has one of the highest fertility and population growth rates in Kenya (as evidenced by successive census and demographic surveys). In fact the fertility rate of Kisii ranks among the highest in the world, (see Kenyan Conundrum: A Regional Analysis of Population Growth and Primary Education (Paperback) by Juha I. Uitto [Author]). These factors have ensured the Kisii to be among the most geographically widespread communities in East Africa. A disproportionately large number of Kisiis have gone abroad in search of education.The Kisii are some of the most heavily represented Kenyans in foreign (usually Indian and American) universities and a few in the United Kingdom. Their lands are currently overpopulated despite their rolling fertile hills, spurring immigration to other cities in Kenya and a substantial representation in the United States, especially in major hub cities like Houston, Atlanta, Jersey City, Dallas and Minneapolis-Saint Paul. The hard cash that flows from the diaspora has spawned significant economic prosperity in a locale lacking in politically motivated 'hand-me downs'.

Names like Areri, Arasa, Bogonko, Bosire, Isaboke, Mairura, Makori, Mogaka, Mogeni, Momanyi, Moseti, Motieri, Nyambane, Nyambati, Ocharo, Onchiri, Ongeri, Onkoba, Onsomu, Onyoni, Osebe, Otwori, Nyakoni, Bagwasi, Omanwa, Ongori, among others are common family names just like Smith and Johnson in the Anglo-Saxon cultures. Female names such as Biyaki, Bitutu, Moraa, Nyanchama, Monchari, Nyaboke, Nyatichi, Kemunto, Kerubo, Kwamboka, Kerebi, Gesare, Buyaki, Bwari, Bosibori, Bochaberi, Kemuma, and others are also common names given to girls.

Population Statistics

Among Kenya's urban areas, Kisii municipality has a relatively high population density. However, the population density currently at 2862 per km2[citation needed] is relatively high owing to the scarcity of land within the municipality boundaries spurring further expansion of settlement in the outlying metro area. These alternative settlements have been sanctioned by the municipal government which, in turn, has allowed residents to develop their homes just outside of the municipality boundary to alleviate this phenomenon.
The economy of Kisii town today is derived from commerce and agriculture. Kisii town is doted with tall commercial buildings and is ever bustling with activities. Smaller components are in food processing, health care, education. Although it has are few industrial activities, it has potential for larger agro-based industries due to its location in a rich agricultural area. Soapstone quarrying also takes place near the town around Tabaka, south west of the town and a few miles off the Kisii-Isebania Road. Coca-Cola has a bottling and distribution plant in Kisii municipality. Also, the town hosts large supermarket chain stores e.g. Uchumi, Nakumatt and Tusky's. Besides, the town currently hosts 17 commercial banking and financial institutions' branches. These include the long existing Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB), Barclay's Bank, National Bank and Co-operative Bank. Newer entrants in the banking sector such as Equity Bank, Eco-Bank, Diamond Trust Bank, K-Rep Bank and others have also launched new branches in the town taking advantage of the large population and the positioning of Kisii as an increasing commercial hub town. Moreover, like many of Kenya's major urban centers, there is an influx of numerous other business ventures such as the hospitality sector with hotels, bars, restaurants, sports pubs, among other commercial activities.
Kisii Municipal Council runs the town. It is currently headed by Mayor Samuel Nyangeso, an elected town councilor of Narc K party. Also, the town has a large County Government campus office, County Law Courts, State Law Office branch, among other governmental agencies based in this town.
Geography and Transportation
Kisii is located in Nyanza region, on Latitude: 0° 41' 0 N and Longitude: 34° 46' 0 E. The town is a driving distance of 309 km (192 mi) from Kenya's capital city of Nairobi, located east-southeast, on Class B3 all-weather road. Also, other major urban center's proximity distances from Kisii town are; Kisumu city which is 114 km (71 mi) to the northwest, Nyamira at 23 km (14 mi) to the immediate north; Keroka at 25 km (16 mi) to the east; Kericho at 101 km (63 mi) to the northeast, Kilgoris at 46 km (29 mi) to the southeast; Narok at 165 km (103 mi) to the east, and Migori to the south-west 67 km (42 mi) which otherwise connects the town to the Kenya /Tanzania border at Isebania town located a further 31 km (19 mi) south. Public transportation, which is operated privately, is available throughout the entire town. A good example is private owned taxis (matatus), taxi cabs and 'boda-boda' (motorcycle taxis) as an alternative to privately owned vehicles. Air service to Kisii is minimal. However, chartered flights mainly from Nairobi's Wilson Airport transport passengers to Kisii's Suneka Airstrip situated 9 km (6 mi) southwest of the municipality. The facility is under utilized currently but many of the residents especially businessmen, local politicians and tourists are using this means for convenience reasons. From Kisii, it is easy to get to Tabaka Soapstone quarries, the Maasai Mara Game Reserve in Narok County, Lambwe Valley Game Reserve in South Nyanza County, Kisumu city and the Kenya /Tanzania or Kenya /Uganda border points. Kisii receives frequent convectional rains and enjoys a great highland climate.
Soapstone carving and arts. Kisii town is also the venue for the annually held Gusii Cultural Festival, an event focusing on the cultural heritage of the Gusii community
Football (soccer) of national league status is played at Gusii Stadium and other surrounding grounds. Shabana Football Club is based in Kisii town and has been a popular soccer club in Gusiiland and has featured in the Kenya national premier league for many years. Formed by V. Dogo Khan, the proprietor of Shabana Hardware Stores as an incentive to his store employees in the mid-1980s, it grew to be a strong football team which in its successful run, attracted and recruited star players from local high schools and talented individual players living or working in the municipality. However, its team performance has lately be relegated down to national 2nd Division league after losing most of its star players to other local and international teams for economic reasons. Track sports such as athletics meetings are popular with the town's residents and Gusiiland in general. Such meetings are held during schools' and colleges' sports season in mid year. Other forms of sport in town include Volleyball, Basketball and Netball which attract a diverse participation yearly, respectively. Gusii Stadium has been a popular venue for these meetings for many years now. Lastly, golf is mainly played by middle or upper income residents who are members of the Kisii Golf & Sports Club, a private members' club in the municipality. This trend is one of the remnants of a tradition that was borrowed from former British settlers in this town by the emerging Kenya African educated and elite in many towns in the nation which host vast golf courses of which Kisii town is one of them.
Radio Egesa, owned by Royal Media Services Company and broadcasting from Nairobi. This radio channel has daily programming broadcasting mainly in Gusii language (Ekegusii) for its rural /urban target audience. Moreover, the more informed and educated prefer tuning into the larger broadcast networks programming from Nairobi, Mombasa or Kisumu stations relayed to the area local satellite. Moreover, the major broadcasting media services have installed boosters and transmitters within the greater municipality area and this has continued to serve the residents with current events on an instant daily basis.
Religion and Charity
The town's residents are predominantly Christians and Protestants. The majority of residents identify with the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church. Other residents identify with Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church and evangelical inter-denominational congregations such as Redeemed or Full Gospel Church of Kenya. Also, the town has a Mosque for Muslim faithful and a small Temple for Hindu faithful who collectively constitute the minority of the municipality's population. There are local and international based non-governmental (NGO) and philanthropic organizations based in the municipality. These aid organizations mainly target the needy bright or economically poor students who seek funds to further their studies in schools and tertiary institutions and also addressing pressing societal impact issues.
Health and Utilities
Kisii (Level 5) General Hospital is the largest government owned health facility in the County. However, the town has reputable private hospitals and medical centers and these include Hema Hospital, Getembe Hospital, Christa Marianne Hospital, Bosongo Medical Center and Ram Hospital being one of the new ones opened recently serving the municipality and the County in general.
Academic institutions in the municipality and outlying areas include Kisii High School, Kereri Girls' High School, Our Lady of Lourdes Girls' High School, Nyabururu, Cardinal Otunga High School Mosocho, St. Mary's Mosocho, Itierio High School, Kioge Girls' High School among many other notable schools in the municipality. Notable private schools such as Sakagwa School, Gusii Highlights Academy, and Imperial Primary School are located in this city. Municipal schools such as the vintage Kisii Primary School, Jogoo Primary School, Getembe Primary are based in the town. Due the large population and ever-increasing demand for education, most public universities and colleges have set up new Kisii based campuses and branches in the town. Most notable institutions that have set up in the town include the Egerton University, University of Nairobi, Masinde Muliro University and Moi University.
Housing conditions
Due to the hilly topography, the frequent rains in town and much of the surroundings, the town lacks effective drainage system. The only sewerage formerly in the Daraja Mbili area of the town has since been moved outside the town to Suneka area. There is an acute shortage of land and most of its suburbs have developed without proper planning. However, aside from the existing housing estates owned by the municipality and private owned homes, there is currently new housing estates coming up in Nyanchwa neighborhood owned by the government's housing agency. Many residents owning private homes and flats can be found all over the municipality and its precinct areas such as organized suburbs or municipality wards such as Milimani, Gesonso, Itierio, Nyangena, Nyamataro, Mwembe Tayari, Gekomu, Menyinkwa, Nyabururu, Embassy and Nyanchwa. These are regarded as middle to upper middle class neighborhoods with many modern private homes on freehold areas and apartments. The municipality lower to middle class neighborhoods and outlying residential areas include Suneka, Jogoo, Getare, Menyinkwa and Nyankongo which entail a large and diverse population. Most of all, the main reason for the few housing estates in the municipality limits is scarcity of land and many residents' preference for owner occupancy homes than purchasing flats or homes built by either the government or the municipality. The settlements both consist of regular village homes as well more organized modern suburban homes and freehold homes. The effects of the post-election violence of 2007-8 also contributed lately to the rise of numerous private home construction and migration of residents from other major cities and towns such as nearby Kisumu, Kericho, Sotik, and as further away as Eldoret, Kitale and Nakuru. This situation encouraged a mass exodus from these towns and diaspora residents fleeing persecution fearing inter-tribal stigmatization into the town for their own safety. ln conclusion, Kisii town and municipality was literally calm during this brief tumultuous period, except for the border market centers such as Chebilat in the east and Nyangusu in the southeast.
Kisii Library, a branch of the national library system, serves the municipality residents. It is located near the center of the town opposite the County Government office. For sports lovers, the Gusii Stadium is the venue for scheduled Kenya Premier League (KPL) soccer tournaments and locally organized sporting events, The Kisii Golf Course & Sports Club for lovers of golf and relaxation. The town has other avenues for entertainment and leisure. The town boasts a very diverse collection of country or garden hotels e.g. Kisii Hotel, Zonic Hotel, Storm Hotel, Nile Hotel, Bluu Nile Hotel, Ufanisi Resort, Bridge Camp Hotel, Mash Park Hotel, St. Vincent's Hotel, Everest Hotel, Mwalimu Hotel, among others. It has a number of bars & sports pubs e.g. Jazz Pub, Serengeti and others, restaurants i.e. Quality Restaurants and others. These are popular with visitors as well as residents. Also there are a couple of nightclubs such as The Backyard, Club Webs among others.
A portion of larger Kisii Golf Course was initially open for public recreation by the municipality for a number of years. However, this was area was later on reconsolidated to the golf course. Due to scarcity of land in town, the town lacks a central park for the public use.
The Gusii play a large bass lyre called obokano. Circumscion of boys at around age of 10 as a rite of passage without anesthesia is common among the Abagusii. This ritual takes place annually in the months of November and December followed by a period of seclusion during which the boys are led in different activities by older boys, and is a great time of celebration indeed for families and communities at large. Family, friends and neighbors are invited days in advance by candidates to join the family. Marriage in Gusii community traditional marriage was arranged by the parents who find an appropriate bride and kidnap her, both customary, civil and christian marriage was allowed.