Written by Eric Lumbasi
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A general view of Kimilili Town.
Kimilili is a small market town in Bungoma County, bordering Mount Elgon District. The town has a population of slightly over 10,000 although some 67,000 people live on tiny farms and small-holdings within 5 km of the town centre.
The town has experienced tremendous developments both by private investors and the government with the recent one being opening of a Co-operative Bank branch to boost the financial sector of the town.
The residential estates of the town include, Makwata, Machinjoni, Kamusinga, Mwalimu, and Nabwana. The origin of the estate names range from a dominant activity in the area to career of most residents to a family that first occupied the place.
Kimilili town has a single tarmarcked street that passes through it with outlets connecting to markets of Chwele to the west, Bokoli to the south east, Kamkuywa to the northeast and Kapsokwony to the north.
It has permanent buildings that houses business premises the various business people in the town use with the tallest being a recently constructed three storey Cooperative Bank building and Hotel Lechante. Others are evenly distributed throughout the town running businesses such as Shops, Hardware, Butchery, Tailoring, Carpentry, Hotels, Cafes and Boutiques.
Government Offices are centrally located near the road at the last junction on the Kimilili-Chwele road.
The various Departmental Offices having been recently elevated to a district are found here.
They include the District Commissioners office, District Officer 1s office, District Development office, Children’s office, Municipal Council, Water Department, and Administration Police and adjacent to them are the Law Courts. The Ministry of Roads has its offices located along the Kimilili town towards the Kimilili Market.
Since it is an upcoming town, Kimilili has less recreational facilities. The Amtalla Ground is the most outstanding recreational facility in the town located next to Kimilili DEB Primary school. Political Rallies, National Holidays Celebrations and inter School Games Competitions are normally hosted there.
Most of the people living in Kimilili Town just moved in from other towns and villages to pursue business and career interests. The Bukusu community however forms a majority of the population followed by the Kikuyu with the other communities adding up to the rest of the population. No Asians reside in Kimilili.
Most of the flourishing businesses in the town are owned by people from the Kikuyu community. It runs from Supermarkets to clothes businesses.
The hygiene of the town has been maintained with the municipal council collecting litter from various strategically placed dust bins in the town. No disease outbreak has so far been reported in the town with the council having initiated a program of volunteer town cleaning once per year.
For the past one year, there have been incidences of insecurity reported from various estates of the town. The most recent one being gangsters raiding the Wapi 2 Petrol Station early one night and managing to escape with an unknown amount of money .
The residents have so far called upon the police to intensify patrols especially during the night saying they usually take long before reaching at scenes of events.
Having been constructed in the year 1989 the state of roads in Kimilili is very poor after developing massive potholes all along. Re-carpeting has not proved to be a solution as most of the re-carpeted spots have been further elongated due to poor workmanship as well as heavy rains that have been pounding the region.
Due to this situation the municipal council proposed a divert route to be used by public vehicles plying on the Kimilili- Chwele route which it’s consistent use lead to poor drainage system that sometimes renders the road impassable.
Efforts of reforestation have been rarely witnessed due to lack of a forestry department in the district. Planting of trees are usually witnessed during public holidays and sometime organized by parastatals of the town.
Rent of residential places varies between the different estates of the town and the types of houses. A mud house range between Ksh 300-500 per month, semi-permanent house without electricity charges between Ksh 500-1000, a permanent house with electricity charges between Ksh 1500-2500 per month.
A self contained house is charged at Ksh 3500 and above per month. Apartments are charged at Ksh 4500 and above per month.
Intermarriages are less experienced among the various different communities that reside within Kimilili town. For instance, the Bukusu and Kikuyu, Sabaot and Bukusu, Luo and Bukusu. Most of the couples are from the same community.
Moi Girls Kamusinga, Friends School Kamusinga, Matili Technical Institute, Maeni Girls high School have immensely contributed to the growth of Kimilili Town due to the large population of students they command and various projects undergoing in the institutions.
With Friends School Kamusinga being elevated to a national school it had to receive Ksh12 million for the infrastructure up grade hence a boost to the town. Also the Matili Technical Institute construction of a multimillion structures has had a great economic growth on Kimilili Town.
Students of Friends School Kamusinga in jubiliation after receiving positive KCSE results.
Factors that have helped shape Kimilili town include agricultural, political and currently educational.
It is advantageous for the town in its strategically placed position to make it a hot spot for booming business in agricultural products from both within the constituency as well as from the neighboring ones of Sirisia, Mt Elgon, Webuye and Trans- Nzoia. This has further been enhanced by the recent completion of a Ksh30 million Municipal Council Market to cater for their business needs.
In the political wing, Kimilili town has a Municipal Council currently comprising of five wards namely Kimilili North, Chebukwabi, Kibingei, Maeni, and Kimilili Rural. This has helped initiate several projects in town that include street lighting in collaboration with the Kinda Municipality of Sweden.street lighting in collaboration with the Kinda Municipality of Sweden.
In the educational sector having friends school Kamusinga as one of the national schools in the county of Bungoma has helped boost the name of the town through many people from all over the country who wish to educate their children in the school.
Phim school one of the top performing private schools in the region (posted the second best student in Bungoma county last year) has made the name of the town to be widely known. Matili Technical Training Institute one of the main Tertiary Colleges has also been vital in shaping Kimilili Town.
With some buildings currently under construction, suppliers of raw materials as well as building materials do come from within the town hence have helped boost it economically. This has also been elated by the commencement of construction for the 9 kilometer road to be tarmarcked of Kimilili- Matili-Misikhu.
Schools near the town include St Lukes Kimilili Boy’s High School; Friends School Kamusinga, Moi Girls Kamusinga, Maeni Girls, Kimilili Friends girls’ high school, Kamusinga Ack Primary School, Kimilili boys Primary School, Kimilili Girls Primary School, Phim School, Matili F.Y.M primary School and Lutonyi Primary School.
Water supply has been stable especially during rainy season enhanced by the gravitational force from its source which is normally the Mt. Elgon region.
Electricity is normally interrupted during rainy seasons a case that has been severally raised to be addressed by the company on several occasions.
Security in the town has not been stable with insecurity cases being many and unpredictable thugs mainly target business premises. This has raised alarm to the police unit to intensify patrols all over the town throughout the night.
Asians used to live along the Postal Street in the town which has the oldest building in town but many have moved to other towns leaving the buildings to be occupied by Kenyans who have established different business premises.
There are three buses operating from Kimilili owned by a re-known business man popularly called King Size who also owns a fleet of shops and buildings in the town. They operate from Bungoma to Kitale town. Other people have also invested in the Van Public Service Vehicles popularly known as Kangaroo which ply the Kimilili- Bungoma Route via Bokoli.
There is an average of fifteen bars in Kimilili Town owned by different people with some collapsing and later being revived by other people. Royal pub, Friends pub, Generations pub, Highway pub, Mt Crest Hotel which has also a bar is owned by Jack Tumwa, Njalale bar owned by Sitati Nangalama and Hotel Lechante owned by Musikiti are some of them.
The Mt. Elgon agricultural region.
Mt Elgon District has been handy in the growth of Kimilili town due to its rich source of agricultural produce which are normally sold in Kimilili. They include vegetable, tomatoes, onions, potatoes, carrots, fruits as well as coffee.
Several conferences organized by the Sabaot are often held in the Kimilili town Hotels due to accessibility and availability of halls to cater for them hence boosts the town economy.
In the transport sector motorbikes have also been the preferred mode of transport between Kimilili- Kapsokwony which has provided job opportunity to many youths in Kimilili as well as in the Mt Elgon region.
Investors have been urged to establish residential houses within the town and its environs to cater for the need of students at Matili Technical Institute as well the soon to be established ICFEM University.
Currently no much has been seen by investors as opposed to individual who just purchase plot and put up their own houses.
Amtalla Stadium is usually utilized by primary schools children in their ball games and athletics competitions and for hosting Political Rallies and functions during Public Holidays.
It has been fenced by iron sheets a project of the Ministry of Sports implemented close to five years ago. Several Youth Clubs in the region have been very active citing mismanagement of funds at the top levels which has caused them much suffering due to not being able to access the funds to help them nurture their talents.
Kimilili Makwata mosque
There are several churches in Kimilili town with the notable ones being Catholic, ACK, Friends, Glory Center, Chrisco and PEFA. Mosques have been built strategically in a cross section of the town and others in nearby villages.
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