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Provinces of Kenya
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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

Central Province

The Central Province (SwahiliKatiGikuyuGichigo 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.

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Central Province was the ancestral home of the Gikuyu people

Coast Province

The Coast Province (SwahiliMkoa 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

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Eastern province

The Eastern Province (SwahiliMashariki) 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 Province

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.

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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 (SomaliGobolka Woqooyi BariOsmanya script: ๐’Œ๐’™๐’๐’™๐’๐’๐’– ๐’“๐’™๐’Ž๐’๐’•๐’˜ ๐’๐’–๐’‡๐’˜) 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

Nyanza Province (Kenyan English[หˆษฒaหnzษ™]SwahiliMkoa 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 kmยฒ, or 12.613 kmยฒ of land.

The climate is tropical humid.

Rift Valley Province

Rift Valley Province (SwahiliMkoa 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.

Western Province

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: KakamegaBungomaVihiga, 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 (SwahiliMagharibi) 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 peopleQuakerism 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

CodeCountyProvinceArea
(km2)
Population
(2009 Census)
Location
1MombasaCoast212.5939,370Mombasa (City)
2KwaleCoast8,270.3649,931Kwale
3KilifiCoast12,245.91,109,735Kilifi
4Tana RiverCoast35,375.8240,075Hola
5LamuCoast6,497.7101,539Lamu
6Taita-TavetaCoast17,083.9284,657Voi
Sub-TotalsCoast79,686.13,325,307
7GarissaNorth Eastern45,720.2623,060Garissa
8WajirNorth Eastern55,840.6661,941Wajir
9ManderaNorth Eastern25,797.71,025,756Mandera
Sub-TotalsNorth Eastern127,358.52,310,757
10MarsabitEastern66,923.1291,166Marsabit
11IsioloEastern25,336.1143,294Isiolo
12MeruEastern5,127.11,356,301Meru
13Tharaka-NithiEastern2,409.5365,330Chuka
14EmbuEastern2,555.9516,212Embu
15KituiEastern24,385.11,012,709Kitui
16MachakosEastern5,952.91,098,584Machakos
17MakueniEastern8,008.9884,527Wote
Sub-TotalsEastern140,698.65,668,123
18NyandaruaCentral3,107.7596,268Ol Kalou
19NyeriCentral2,361.0693,558Nyeri
20KirinyagaCentral1,205.4528,054Kerugoya / Kutus
21Murang’aCentral2,325.8942,581Murang’a
22KiambuCentral2,449.21,623,282Kiambu
Sub-TotalsCentral11,449.14,383,743
23TurkanaRift Valley71,597.8855,399Lodwar
24West PokotRift Valley8,418.2512,690Kapenguria
25SamburuRift Valley20,182.5223,947Maralal
26Trans NzoiaRift Valley2,469.9818,757Kitale
27Uasin GishuRift Valley2,955.3894,179Eldoret
28Elgeyo-MarakwetRift Valley3,049.7369,998Iten
29NandiRift Valley2,884.5752,965Kapsabet
30BaringoRift Valley11,075.3555,561Kabarnet
31LaikipiaRift Valley8,696.1399,227Rumuruti
32NakuruRift Valley7,509.51,603,325Nakuru(City)
33NarokRift Valley17,921.2850,920Narok
34KajiadoRift Valley21,292.7687,312Kajiado
35KerichoRift Valley2,454.5752,396Kericho
36BometRift Valley1,997.9730,129Bomet
Sub-TotalsRift Valley182,505.110,006,805
37KakamegaWestern3,033.81,660,651Kakamega
38VihigaWestern531.3554,622Vihiga
39BungomaWestern2,206.91,375,063Bungoma
40BusiaWestern1,628.4743,946Busia
Sub-TotalsWestern7,400.44,334,202
41SiayaNyanza2,496.1842,304Siaya
42KisumuNyanza2,009.5968,909Kisumu(City)
43Homa BayNyanza3,154.7963,794Homa Bay
44MigoriNyanza2,586.4917,170Migori
45KisiiNyanza1,317.91,152,282Kisii
46NyamiraNyanza912.5598,252Nyamira
Sub-TotalsNyanza12,477.15,442,711
47NairobiNairobi694.93,138,369Nairobi (City)
Totals581,309.038,610,097

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