The provinces of Kenya were replaced by a system of counties in 2010. Before the new constitution of Kenya that came into force on August 27, 2010, Kenya was divided into eight provinces (see map). The provinces, excluding Nairobi Province, were subdivided into 46 districts, which were further subdivided into 262 divisions. The divisions were subdivided into 2,427 locations and 6,612 sublocations. A province was administered by a Provincial Commissioner.
Kenyan local authorities generally do not follow common boundaries with divisions. They are classified as city, municipality, town or county councils.
A third discrete type of classification are electoral constituencies. They are electoral areas without administrative functions, and are further subdivided into wards.
List of Former Kenyan provinces
The Central Province (Swahili: Kati, Gikuyu: Gichigo gia Gatagati) was a region in central Kenya until 2013, when Kenya’s provinces were replaced by a system of counties. It covered an area of 11,449 km2 (4,420 sq mi) and was located to the north of Nairobi and west of Mount Kenya (see maps). The province had 4,383,743 inhabitants according to the 2009 census. The provincial headquarters was Nyeri.
Central Province was the ancestral home of the Gikuyu people
The Coast Province (Swahili: Mkoa wa Pwani) was one of Kenya’s eight provinces. It contained all of the country’s coastline on the Indian Ocean. Its capital city was Mombasa. It was inhabited by the Mijikenda and Swahili peoples, among others. The province covered an area of 79,686.1 km2
The Eastern Province (Swahili: Mashariki) of Kenya was one of 8 Provinces of Kenya. Its northern boundary ran along with that of Ethiopia; the North Eastern Province and Coast Province lay to the east and south; and the remainder of Kenya’s provinces, including Central Province, ran along its western border. The provincial capital was Embu.
Nairobi City County is one of the 47 counties of Kenya. With a population of 4,397,073 in the 2019 census, it is the third smallest yet the most populous of the counties, also serving as the capital of Kenya. In 2013, the county entity was effected, replacing Nairobi City Council, the long-standing unit of administration since pre-independence. The city county consists of eleven gazetted sub-counties and eighty five electoral wards. On the national level, Nairobi also sends seventeen Members of Parliament across the constituencies and one County Woman Representative to the National Assembly; one senator to the Senate. The county government, which is allocated devolved functions as per the constitution, is headed by the county governor, who appoints his cabinet. The county’s legislature is headed by the County Speaker, who presides over the County Assembly: single-member elected Members of the County Assembly (MCAs) represent their respective electoral wards. Additional MCAs are also nominated by political parties as a form of affirmative action.
Nairobi City County shares the same boundaries as the then Nairobi Province; Kenya’s eight provinces were sub-divided into forty seven Counties of Kenya as per the Constitution of Kenya, based on the forty seven districts that were established prior to 1992.
On 25 August 2022 after the general elections in Kenya, Johnson Sakaja was sworn-in as the fourth Governor of Nairobi County
North Eastern Province
The North Eastern Province (Somali: Gobolka Woqooyi Bari, Osmanya script: 𐒌𐒙𐒁𐒙𐒐𐒏𐒖 𐒓𐒙𐒎𐒝𐒕𐒘 𐒁𐒖𐒇𐒘) is one of the former provinces in Kenya. It has a land area of 127,358.5 km2, with its capital at Wajir. Previously known as the Northern Frontier District (NFD), the North Eastern Province territory was carved out of the present-day southern Somalia during the colonial period.
However, during negotiations for Kenya’s independence, Britain granted administration of the NFD to Kenyan nationalists despite an informal plebiscite showing the overwhelming desire of the region’s population to join the newly formed Somali Republic. It is, and has historically been, mostly inhabited by Somalis.
Nyanza Province (Kenyan English: [ˈɲaːnzə]; Swahili: Mkoa wa Nyanza) was one of Kenya‘s eight administrative provinces before the formation of the 47 counties under the 2010 constitution. Six counties were organised in the area of the former province.
The region is located in the southwest part of Kenya around Lake Victoria, includes part of the eastern edge of Lake Victoria, and is inhabited predominantly by the Luo people and Kisii people. There are also Bantu-speaking tribes, such as the Kuria, and some Luhya, living in the province. The province derives its name from Nyanza, a Bantu word which means a large mass of water.
The provincial capital was Kisumu, the third-largest city in Kenya. The province had a population of 4,392,196 at the 1999 census within an area of 16.162 km², or 12.613 km² of land.
The climate is tropical humid.
Rift Valley Province
Rift Valley Province (Swahili: Mkoa wa Bonde la Ufa) of Kenya, bordering Uganda, was one of Kenya’s eight provinces, before the Kenyan general election, 2013. Rift Valley Province was the largest and one of the most economically important provinces in Kenya. It was dominated by the Kenya Rift Valley which passes through it and gives the province its name. According to the 2009 Census, the former province covered an area of 182,505.1 square kilometres (45,098,000 acres; 70,465.6 sq mi) and would have had a population of 10,006,805, making it the largest and most populous province in the country. The bulk of the provincial population inhabited a strip between former Nairobi and Nyanza Province. The capital was the town of Nakuru.
After the 2013 general election, and the coming into effect of the new constitution, provinces became defunct and the country was now divided into 47 counties. Each county has its own government and therefore there is no central regional capital. Western Province became the Western region, comprising four counties: Kakamega, Bungoma, Vihiga, and Busia.
Kakamega is the seat of government for Kakamega County, Bungoma County has its seat in Bungoma town, Busia County has the Assemble in Busia, Vihiga County in Vihiga town, all the County governments and governors are answerable to the people not to the national government. The Western Region (Swahili: Magharibi) of Kenya, bordering Uganda, is one of former Kenya’s seven administrative provinces outside Nairobi. It is west of the Eastern Rift Valley and is inhabited mainly by the Luhya people. Quakerism is widely practised here. Kenya’s second highest mountain, Mount Elgon is located in Bungoma County. The Kakamega Forest rainforest is part of the area. The province capital was the town of Kakamega.
List of Counties by former provinces in Kenya
|20||Kirinyaga||Central||1,205.4||528,054||Kerugoya / Kutus|
|24||West Pokot||Rift Valley||8,418.2||512,690||Kapenguria|
|26||Trans Nzoia||Rift Valley||2,469.9||818,757||Kitale|
|27||Uasin Gishu||Rift Valley||2,955.3||894,179||Eldoret|
|43||Homa Bay||Nyanza||3,154.7||963,794||Homa Bay|