Bungoma County is a county in the former Western Province of Kenya. Its capital is Bungoma or Bungoma Town. It has a population of 1,375,063 and an area of 2,069 km². In 2010, the neighbouring Mount Elgon District was eliminated and its lands merged with Bungoma District to form Bungoma County.
The economy of Bungoma County is mainly agricultural, centering on the sugarcane and maize industries. The area experiences high rainfall throughout the year, and is home to several large rivers, which are used for small-scale irrigation.
The Bukusu who occupy much of the county are resilient and flamboyant people who stood up against British rule in the late 19th century. In a war that erupted at Lumboka and eventually ended at Chetambe near Webuye, the Bukusu bitterly resisted British rule. They are farmers who practice both livestock and crop farmers. And an early British traveler described them as such when he visited in 1876 "on the East of the Mountain, there are the Bukusu who are greater livestock breeders and keepers".
The Bukusu have produced many prominent people that have served in the Kenyan public life among them H.E. Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi (Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNCTAD), the late Hon Masinde Muliro( Founder Member of original KADU independence party, Founder member of FORD party) late Hon Wamalwa Kijana (former vice president), the late Cardinal Maurice Michael Otunga (head of the Catholic Church in Kenya), the late Elijah Masinde (founder of Dini ya Musambwa), Sudi Namachanja (chief during colonial days), Hon.Lawrence Sifuna( Second-Liberation hero in the struggle for multiparty democracy in Kenya),Luka Namulala (community fore teller), among others. Among the women that have stood out include Dinah Khayota (former women leader), Justice Ruth Nekoye, lawyer Nancy Barasa and Beatrice Kituyi ( a prominent lawyer and former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour), Dr Eusebius Juma Mukhwana (agriculture/Educationist) and Prof Adrian Mukhebi (agriculture) among others.
In Business, Notable figures include Makhanu Munata, Maurice Butala, Vincent Naliakho, mama Dinah Kibunguchy, Henry Wakwabubi, Tom Katenya, Mama lutia (Nalondo), Dimina Agencies, Mwalimu Kokonya, Moses Simiyu, Luketelo, Mbaya and Didimo Satia among others.
Politically, over the last 17 years or so the community have been members of Ford-Kenya, the party formerly headed by Wamalwa Kijana. Through this party the community has been able to express and participate in national politics. More recently community members now have MPs drawn from ODM, PNU,Ford-Kenya and New-Ford-Kenya.Currently,notable political figures include Governor Kenneth Lusaka,Senator Moses Wetangula among others.
This large population of approximately 1.4 million, coupled with rural unemployment has started to put pressure on land and other natural resources.
There are a number of non-governmental organizations currently working in Bungoma. One Acre Fund, in an effort to improve farming incomes, is introducing more profitable crops and farming techniques to farmers and providing farming inputs in exchange for a share of future revenues. For over 15 years, SACRED Africa has been working with farmers to improve farm productivity, soil Health, Technology transfer and marketing of agricultural produce. the organization pioneered the concept of cereal banking in western Kenya which won a UN award for innovative resolution of challenges facing smallholder marketing.
The Main University in the area in Kibabii University which was chartered in 2015. This is a Government sponsored university located about 10km from Bungoma town, along the Chwele-Kimilili road. The vice chancellor is Prof. Isaac Odeo Ipara. Other major educational institutions of higher learning include SACRED Training Institute (STI), Sang'alo Institutte of science and technology, Matili Polytechnic, Kisiwa polytechnic and Kibabii Diploma teacher's college.
The county also has major national and county schools such as Kibabii High school, Kamusinga Boys, Lugulu Girls, Chwele Girls, Misikhu Girls and Bungoma High school. The residents of the county highly value education and invest a great deal in it.
Major Professionals that have stride the higher education sector in Kenya include Prof Kassily (medic), Prof Simiyu Wandibba (archaeology), Prof Vincent Simiyu (history), Prof Henry Kerre (education), Prof Monica Mwiseli (maths), Prof Barasa Wangila (aquaculture), Prof. Eusebius Mukhwana (agriculture/educationist), Prof Adrian Mukhebi (agriculture).
Source: USAid Kenya
The county has five constituencies:Kimilili Constituency
Mt. Elgon Constituency