Kibaki creates 20 provinces; ethnic clashes now feared

UPDATE – 22nd July 2009:

The Standard has reliably learnt that the number of sub-provinces is now 22 after two were added, reportedly to accommodate interests of certain communities in Nyanza and Rift Valley.

Southern Nyanza, which was initially lumped together with Eastern Nyanza, will now have its headquarters in Homa Bay. Eastern Nyanza will be administered from Kisii town and cater for the Gusii and Kuria. Also added to the list is Western Rift, to be governed from Kericho town. It was originally part of Western Rift Valley, which will now be called Eastern Rift with offices in Eldoret.

Read more on this story from the Standard daily >>


After he was warned against splitting Kenya’s provinces, President Mwai Kibaki has resorted to deceptive tactics to impose 20 new provinces through a bizarre concept of “sub-provinces.”

The new provincial units created by President Mwai Kibaki

The new provincial units created by President Mwai Kibaki

In an unexpected political maneuver last week, the President made far reaching changes in the Provincial administration. Not only did he replace at least 6 Provincial Commissioners, but he also introduced 20 deputy provincial commissioners to be in charge of the 20 “sub-provinces.” Meanwhile, all 210 constituencies have been declared as districts but the final district tally is 254, meaning that some constituencies have more than one district!

The interesting fact is that the President’s Party of National Unity (PNU) had earlier proposed splitting the country into 20 provinces. The proposal was however rejected by majority of legislators. Even ex-President Daniel arap Moi, who lately supports Kibaki, rejected the proposal arguing that it will worsen ethnic tensions especially in the Rift Valley Province.

There are now fears of a resurgence of ethnic clashes as the new provincial borders appear aligned on ethnic lines. For instance, the larger Nyanza Province was split into Kisumu and Kisii sub-provinces. Western Province has been split into Bungoma and Kakamega sub-provinces to separate the Bukusu community from the rest of the Luhyas.

In the Rift Valley, the Maasai have been given Narok sub-province, the Kikuyu have Nakuru sub-province while the Kalenjin have been allocated Eldoret sub-province. The pastoral communities of the Pokot, Turkana and Samburu will be administered from Lodwar sub-province.

Central Province has been split into three: Thika, Nyandarua and Nyeri sub-provinces.

The Kamba ethnic group now have the Machakos sub-province.  Embu sub-province will administer the Embu, Meru, Tharaka and Nithi ethnic groups. The nomadic communities in the northern sector of Eastern Province now fall under the Marsabit sub-province. Likewise, the Somali dominated North Eastern province has been split into Wajir and Garissa sub-provinces.

At the coast, the Taita have a sub-province at Voi, while the Mijikenda will have Mombasa sub-province. The rest of the Coastal communities, including the Pokomo and the Bajuni have been clustered under the Malindi sub-province.

Districts with a mixed ethnic composition will experience ethnic tension as controversy emerges over which sub-province will administer those districts. For instance, will the Kalenjin prefer Nakuru sub-province or Eldoret sub-province? In Western Province, which Luhya sub-tribes will want themselves under Bungoma sub-province and which ones will prefer the Kakamega sub-province?

Some districts in Nyanza Province have a mixed Luo and Kisii ethnic composition. Will such districts be placed under the Kisumu sub-province or under the Kisii sub-province? Where will the Kuria ethnic group be placed? Will they demand a sub-province of their own?

In Eastern Province, there will be tension over Isiolo District. The Meru will want it placed under their Embu sub-province but the nomadic groups will want it under Marsabit sub-province. The presence of significant Somali and Samburu populations in Isiolo will complicate the equation.

North Eastern province is ethnically homogeneous but clan affiliation among the Somali is very strong. Which Somali clans will prefer the Wajir sub-province as opposed to the Garissa sub-province?

It appears that President Kibaki does not understand the danger of what he has just done. Everybody – including the international community – warned him against splitting provinces but he has thrown caution to the wind and implemented his diabolical plan. How can a leader get things so wrong?

Should clashes arise from the creation of sub-provinces, Kibaki must bear full responsibility for deaths, injuries and the destruction of property. The beneficiaries of this sinister political strategy should likewise share the blame.

7 Responses

  1. Odd article. This is what Kenyans have been asking for for years. It would be interesting to see who is willing to start ethnic clashes over this. As for the international community, all they want is to control Kenyans. It is time to ignore them and discuss our wishes internally Kenyan to Kenyan. This would clearly exclude their NGO mouthpieces.

  2. I would like someone to enlighten me – Of what benefit would the provinces bring to Kenyans? This is just another evil plan to rig the 2012 elections in advance.

    The actual plan is for Kibaki’s candidate for President (whoever it will be) to achieve 25% of votes cast in 5 Provinces as required by the current constitution (likely to be in place in 2012) even if the five provinces are composed of only two tribes!

    Clearly, the tragic lessons of the 2007 elections mean absolutely nothing for this President!

    Over the last few years, I’ve studied Kibaki and I’ve come to realise that the genteel image the Kenyan media had cultivated of the man in the 90s has been the biggest LIE ever given to Kenyans.

    He is just as corrupt, if not worse than former President Moi.

    Kibaki’s veneer of sophistication serves only to clothe the extensive rot of the system he happily presides over. This fools only the most ignorant Kenyans. Discerning Kenyans immediately saw this TRUTH the moment John Githongo took off from Kibaki’s first Government over systematic and well-organised security related corrupt deals – clearly sanctioned by the President himself.

  3. So what will be the work of the boundaries commission? Or is the head of state a member?

  4. Call them whatever but let them be planning districts. The current structure is clealry outdated. My suggestion is scrab the current provinces and districts and create new structures for planning purposes comprising of costituencies and local councils. Scrab those divisions, locations and sublocations (wazungu called them ‘milango’ to divide us to the subclan level).
    Whatever happened to the divolution talk!

  5. Is there any CLEAR indication (not just words) that this will in any way be of benefit to the common man? Is there any cost saving? Nothing – as a previous commentator said – it’s all about the elections.
    AND on another issue, where are the civil libertarians? Registration of SIM cards and phones – Oh dear – the police state is catching up fast – is this just to avoid descent if the elections are again rigged?

    • A police state is being created right infront of our eyes but most Kenyans don’t seem to realize this. Whether by design or by accident, there are sinister elements in government taking advantage of the current crime wave and gangsterism to erode human rights to a level not experienced even during the worst of the 1980s. Its easy to allow the government to use all possible means to fight crime but experience from other countries show that once this happens, there’s no stopping it. Kidnapping and gangsterism will never end but the rights of Kenyans will be eroded by through the excuse of fighting crime.

      Now, the government is recruiting almost 50,000 police and plans to register mobile phones. Not forgetting the fact that members of the former KweKwe squad are very much active in the police force.

  6. If the districts will be turned into consitituences, this is an automatic adding of constituences from the back door.
    Do we really need additional thieves and non tax payer from the 222 that we already HAVE>

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