Overview of Murang'a County
Murang'a County is believed to be the cultural cradle of the Kikuyus.
Lying approximately 85 kilometers northeast of Nairobi, the county covers 2,558 square kilometers. The current day Murang’a was once known as Forthall.
Murang’a County borders Nyandarua to the west, Embu to the east, Nyeri to the north, Kiambu to the south and Machakos and Kirinyaga counties to the southeast and the northeast respectively.
The origin of the name Murang’a is believed to have been used by the Kikuyu people who referred to going for a visit in the area as ‘Kurang'a' and later changed to Murang’a.
Murang’a County Government
Murang'a County constitutes seven constituencies; Gatanga, Kandara, Kangema, Kigumo, Kiharu, Maragua and Mathioya.
The governance in the county is under Mwangi wa Iria (Governor), James Kembi Gitura (Senator), Sabina Wanjiru Chege, (Women Representative) and Kula Hache (County commissioner).
The constituencies are represented by Humphrey Kimani Njuguna (MP-Gatanga), Alice Muthoni Wahome (MP- Kandara), Tiras Nyingi Ngahu (MP-Kangema), Jamleck Irungu Kamau (MP-Kigumo).
Others are Irungu Kang'ata (MP- Kiharu), Peter Kamande Mwangi (MP-Maragua) and Clement Muchiri Wambugu (MP-Mathioya).
People of Murang’a County
Murang’a County has an approximate population total of 942,581 (male - 48% and female - 52%) according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2009 National Census report.
The larger majority of locals are Kikuyus who are born here. Most of them engage in mixed farming for staple food which includes maize, beans, cabbages, sorghum, millet and cassava among others. The county has a small percentage of people from other communities including Kamba, Meru, Embu, Luhya and Indians who are primarily involved in running small to medium-size trade businesses in major towns of the county.
Religion and Culture
Majority of the residents of this county belong to the mainstream Christian denominations including catholic and Protestants. Even though many have shifted from indigenous worship, there is a significant number of locals who worship the traditional religious sects among them The Tent of the Living God and Thaai.
It’s centrally located and thus Murang'a town is the headquarters of the county. The town offers administrative and socio-economic services to locals. It’s the favorite and main market for agricultural produce.
Named after a popular gas station along the Nyeri - Nairobi highway, Kenol town’s strategic location makes it a transit town along the busy highway.
Kiria-ini town is located on the Murang'a-Kangema-Othaya road. The town serves as a commercial center for administration, local businesses and agriculture. The Catholic church-run Kiria-ini Mission Hospital is located in the town.
The backbone of Murang’a County’s economy is deeply rooted in agriculture. The residents also engage in small scale farming and livestock keeping. Agriculture is practiced on small family land holding. Over 60 percent of small scale farmers grow cash crops tea and coffee.
Six tea factories serve most of the farmers; Githambo, Gatunguru, Kanyenya-ini and Kiru. Coffee factories in the area include Kanyenyaini, Mihuti and Gathima, Kiharu coffee factories among others.
Other agricultural activities that support the county‘s economy include Macadamia farming. Among main farms for Macadamia is Farmnut Macadamia in Murang’a and Maragua town.
Dairy farming is popular in the county with milk processing plants spread across various towns. You will find Kenya Cooperative Creameries and Mountain Fresh milk plants in Kangema.
Murang’a Quarries is the main source of building materials especially bricks and building stones. There are also sand quarries on the border of Murang’a and Machakos that are a source of income for local residents.
Murang'a County has about 271 health facilities which include 112 centers run by government, 125 that are privately owned and 31 run by faith based organizations. A few centers are managed by community based organizations.
Among the government-managed is Murang'a District Hospital in Murang'a Town, Maragua District Hospital, Kangema and Muriranjas Sub-District Hospitals. Church-run health facilities include Kiria-ini Mission and Githumu Hospital. Private hospitals include the Kangari Dental Clinic and Marie Stopes Nursing Home at Mbiiri among others.
There are 739 primary schools and 271 secondary schools both public and private. Some of the top high schools in Murang’a County include Kahuhia Girls Secondary School, Mugoiri Girls High School, Kahuhia Girls High School and Njiiris Boys Secondary School. Murang’a County hosts several renowned colleges among them Murang'a Teacher's College, Murang'a Technical Institute and Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) - Murang'a.
Other top colleges include Michuki Technical Training Institute, Murang'a College of Technology and Mbiiri Institute of Professional Studies. There’s also a Kenya National Library Service in Murang’a town.
Some of the notable personalities who hail from Murang’a County include multiparty activist Kenneth Matiba, John Michuki, popular musicians Joseph Kamaru and the youthful Stella Kimathi aka STL. The county is also home to over 70% of secular and gospel music artist in the Kikuyu language. These include John De Mathhew, John Ndichu, DK Kamau, Kamande Wa Kioi, Queen Jane, Albert Gacheru, Timona Mburu and others.
Attractions and Places of Interest
Visitors to the county can enjoy several attractions. The respected Mukurwe Wa Nyagathanga shrine believed to be the home of kikuyu ancestors (Gikuyu and his wife Mumbi) is worth a visit.
Tuthu Catholic Church mausoleum, the first ever Catholic church in the area is a worthwhile attraction. Rapids Camp Sagana on the border of Murang’a and Nyeri County at Sagana is also a breathtaking camping and white water rafting attraction for foreign and local tourists.
Murang’a County borders Aberdare National Park and Forest to the east. This is an ideal site for camping hiking and bird watching.
The county also hosts the prestigious Ndaka-ini half marathon. There’s also Ndaka-ini dam where all the water supply to Kenya’s capital - Nairobi, comes from.
Travelling to Murang'a County
Access and transport is only by road. It takes approximately one hour by road from Nairobi, one and half hours from Nyeri, 40 minutes from Thika town and two hours from Embu town.
Tourist and visitors to Murang’a County can enjoy comfy accommodation in several leading hotels. These include Hotel Nokras, Jambo Village Hotel, Fortune Green Hotel, Aberdare cottages and Hotel Galanos and Muchiri’s Resort found next to Ndaka-ini dam among many other small resorts.
The county's economy and commercial activity is served by a diverse network of commercial banks. These offer conventional banking and ATM services. Some of the banks in various towns include Cooperative, Equity, Barclays, Kenya Commercial Bank Standard Chartered, National Bank and Family Bank. There are alternative financial institutions which cater for small business people and farmers. Some of these include farmer’s cooperative union such as the Mugama Farmers Sacco, Murata Sacco and Unaitas among others.
Maathai, Maguna Andu and Jack and Jill Supermarkets are the most popular shopping outlets within Murang’a as they have branches all over the county.
TOP of the Muranga County