West Pokot County News
West Pokot County is located in the Rift Valley region. It borders Turkana County to the North, Baringo County to the East, Elgeyo Marakwet County and Trans Nzoia County to the South, and The Republic of Uganda to the West.
Kapenguria town is the capital town of West Pokot County and home to the famous Turkwel Hydro-electric power plant which serves the national grid with approximately 105MW of power.
West Pokot County Population
The Pokot people (commonly spelled Pokoot) live in West Pokot County and Baringo County in Kenya and in the Pokot District of the Eastern Karamoja Region in Uganda. They speak Pokoot, a language of the Southern Nilotic language family which is close to the Marakwet, Nandi, Tugen and other members of the Kalenjin grouping.
Kenya’s 2009 census puts the total number of Pokot speakers at about 620,000 in Kenya. In addition, there are close to 100,000 Pokot speakers in Uganda. According to the census, there were 133,000 Pokot speakers in Baringo County and close to 500,000 in West Pokot County. A fair estimate indicates that there are close to 700,000 Pokot speakers in Kenya and Uganda.
Types of Art
Most Pokot art is associated with body ornamentation, including beadwork and intricate coiffures and wigs that are worn by young men to signal their membership in a given age-grade. Other forms of art include richly patinated gourds and containers used by women for storage.
Tororot is considered the supreme deity among Pokot. Prayers and offerings are made to him during communal gatherings, including feasts and dances. Such ceremonies are usually presided over by a community elder. Diviners and medicine men also play a significant role in maintaining spiritual balance within the community. Dances and feasts are held to thank the god for the generosity and abundance, which he bestows upon Pokot communities.
West Pokot County – Political System of the Pokot People
Pokot society is governed through a series of age-grades. Group membership is determined by the age at which one undergoes initiation. For young men this occurs between ages fifteen and twenty, while for young women it usually occurs around age twelve at the onset of menarche.
After initiation, young people are allowed to marry and are permitted to begin participating in local economic activities. Young men and women form close bonds with other members of their initiation groups, and these bonds serve for future political ties.
When a man or woman reaches old age among Pokot, he or she is accorded a certain degree of status and respect. Responsibilities of elders include presiding over important community decisions, festivals, and religious ceremonies.
Economic Activities in West Pokot County
Agriculture is the backbone of West Pokot County, the major agricultural products grown in West Pokot County are Food crops like Maize, Potatoes, Onions among others while the Cash crops grown in West Pokot County are among others Pyrethram, Coffee and Tea
The term non food crop applies to the use of agricultural crops for uses other than human or animal consumption (as feed).
West Pokot County is home to various cash crops like coffee, Pyrethram and Tea. In earlier times cash crops were usually only a small (but vital) part of a farm’s total yield, while today, especially in the developed countries, almost all crops are mainly grown for revenue.
In least developed countries, cash crops are usually crops which attract demand in more developed nations, and hence have some export value.
Livestock farming is raising of animals for use or for pleasure. Livestock farming includes keeping of both beef and dairy cattle, sheep, goats and camels; the raising of birds commercially for meat or eggs (i.e., chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, and squabs).
Tourism in West Pokot County
Nasolot National Reserve was gazetted in 1979 and consists 9,200 hectares of beautifully rugged land. It is located to the north of Mount Melo at over 3,000 metres.
There are some spectacular views to be had, although most of the reserve is plains. Because of its remote location there are few visitors.
Climatic conditions – Hot and arid
Major Attractions – Rocky out crop at the periphery of the reserve called Nasolot Hill; game viewing. Wildlife – Elephant, lesser kudu, bushbuck, duiker, lion, leopard, Kirks dik-dik, spotted hyena, jackal, impala, Sykes monkey, beisa and fringe-eared oryx, waterbuck, olive baboon, buffalo, gazelle and hippo.
Access – Road: The reserve is 146 km north of Kitale to the west of the A1 Kitale-Lodwar road. The reserves gate lies 6.2 km off the A1 main road. Air: There are air strips at Turkwell dam and Kaputirr
Accommodation – There are no accommodation options in the reserve. However self-catering accommodation and a campsite is available at the Marich Pass Field Studies Centre located 80 km south of the reserve off the A1 Kitale- Lodwar road.
Best time to visit – All year round Activities – Game viewing, bird watching, sport fishing and boating aturkwell dam, nature walks camping.
Kapenguria museum reflects Kenya’s political history. The infamous Kapenguria trial of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, Kungu Karumba, Fred Kubai, Paul Ngei. Bildad Kaggia and Hon. Ramogi Achieng Oneko was held in Kapenguria. The six leading Kenyan nationalists were arrested in 1952, tried at Kapenguria in 1952-3, and imprisoned thereafter in Northern Kenya. All of them have since passed on.
Accommodation and Hotels in West Pokot County
Some of the hotels in the county of West Pokot include Salama Hotel, Elgonnia Springs Hotel, The New Savannah Inn, Samtowo Hotel.
West Pokot County Resources
Turkwel Hydro Power Plant
Turkwel Power Station is one of the major hydro-electric power stations in Kenya. It is situated in north-western Kenya, on the border of Turkana and West Pokot and Pokot North districts, approximately 550 km from Nairobi.
The station was conceived as a multi purpose project comprising hydro-power, agricultural, fisheries and tourism development. It was constructed under the control of KVDA from 1986 to 1991. Turkwel Power Station has the capacity of 106MW.The power produced is connected to the national grid at Lessos sub-station on a 220KV transmission line over a distance of 230 kilometres
It generates approx. 10% of the national electricity supply
West Pokot County is endowed with substantial limestone deposits. A feasibility study carried out in the early 1980s by Kerio Valley Development Authority (KVDA) and a Canadian firm M/s Lavalin International identified more than five million tonnes of high-grade limestone and more than 15 million tonnes of moderate magnesium limestone. Their processing would translate into 300,000 tonnes of cement annually
The feasibility study by KVDA and Lavalin International Limited showed that Ortum had a reserve of 5.9 millions tonnes of limestone, which would be blended with low grade reserve of between 12 and 17 million tonnes of the same raw materials at Chepchoi. The limestone deposits would sustain a cement crushing plant for more than 50 years, which means a cement factory would be viable. The Government, through the ministries of Trade and Industry and Regional Development and the department of Mines and Geology have been petitioned to look for an investor to set up a cement factory.
West Pokot County Jobs opportunities for all qualified personnel and those who would wish to work with West Pokot County government. Jobs in West Pokot County are posted on the county website.
Jobs in West Pokot County are awarded in a free, fair and transparency manner in the need to fight corruption in the country.
To access these West Pokot county jobs advertisement click the link: West Pokot County Jobs for the latest job opportunities in the county.
West Pokot County Tenders
West Pokot county tenders are awarded in a free, fair and transparency manner in the need to fight corruption in the country.
To access tenders in West Pokot county click the link: http://www.westpokot.go.ke/ for the latest job opportunities in the county.
West Pokot County Governor and Deputy Governor
The current governor of West Pokot County is Hon. Isaac Ruto and the deputy governor is Hon. Stephen Mutai.
Constituencies in West Pokot County
West Pokot County Sub-Counties
The County is made up of four administrative districts namely;
- West Pokot Sub-County
- North Pokot Sub-County
- Central Pokot Sub-County
- Pokot South Sub-County
West Pokot County Map
Facts about West Pokot County
Geography of West Pokot County
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West Pokot County is located in the Rift Valley, it borders the following counties; Turkana to the North, Baringo to the East, Elgeyo Marakwet and Trans Nzoia to the South, and The Republic of Uganda to the West.
Area (Km 2): 9,169.4 Km 2
Climate/Weather: Rainfall varies from 400mm (lowlands) to 1,500mm (highlands) per annum. Temperature ranges from a minimum of 10 °C to a maximum of 30 °C in different parts of the county.
Road Network: Bitumen Surface (151 Km), Gravel Surface (349 Km), Earth Surface (697 Km)
Key National Monument(s): Nasolot Game Reserve, Kapenguria Prison Museum
West Pokot County Population
Population: 512,690 (Male – 50 %, Female – 50-%)
Population Density: 56 people per Km 2
National Percentage: 1.33 %
Annual Growth Rate: 3.1 %
Age Distribution: 0-14 years (52.2 %), 15-64 years (45.1 %), 65+ years (2.7 %)
Number of Households: 93,777
Government of West Pokot County
County Capital: Kapenguria Town (proposed)
Number of Constituencies (2010): 3 (Kacheliba, Kapenguria, Sigor)
Registered VWest Pokot County Governmentoters: 114,718
National percentage: 0.9 %
Number of Districts (2009): 3 (West Pokot, Pokot North, Pokot Central)
Number of Local Authorities (2010): 3 (County Council of Pokot, Chepararia Town Council, and Kapenguria Municipal Council)
Economy of West Pokot County
Poverty Level: 69.4 %
Age Dependency Ratio: 100:122
Resources: Land, Water, Wildlife, Livestock, Pasture, Forests, Minerals, Medicinal Plants, Solar, Wind Energy
Tourist Attractions: Wildlife, Scenic Sites, Eco-tourism, Escarpments, Kapenguria Museum, Turkwel Hydro-Power Plant
Financial Services: 2 Commercial Banks, 3 Micro-Finance
Main Economic Activities/industries: Nomadic Pastoralism, Mining, Commercial Businesses
Agricultural products: Livestock Products, Maize, Beans
Education in West Pokot County
Number of Institutions (2007): Primary (318), Secondary (34)
Primary: Enrolment (105,452)
Teacher to Pupil Ratio: 1:50 (Public Schools)
Secondary: Enrolment (9,897)
Teacher to Pupil Ratio: 1:36 (Public Schools)
Tertiary: Data Not Available
Adult Literacy Classes: Enrolment; Over 1,400
Health in West Pokot County
Health Facilities: 31 – District Hospitals (1), Dispensaries (27), Health Centres (3)
Doctor to Population Ratio: 1: 84,528
Infant Mortality Rates: 108 /1000
Under Five Mortality Rates: 206 /1000
Prevalent Diseases: Malaria, Respiratory Tract Infections, Diarrhoea, Skin Infections
Notable Hospitals: Kapenguria District Hospital
West Pokot County Contacts
Office of the Governor
West Pokot County Government
Postal Address: PO Box 222 – 30600, Kapenguria
West Pokot County Website