CRA visits three of the most marginalised sub-locations in Kajiado county

By Nelly Muse

A team from the Commission visited three marginalized areas in Kajiado county in November 2022 to gain fresh insights into newly listed marginalized areas. In the Second Policy Identifying Marginalized Areas in Kenya 64 Sublocations in Kajiado County were identified as marginalized. In preparing the third policy, 29 new areas have been identified, in addition to the 47 areas.

Kajiado County is vast, about 21,87km2. Located in the Rift Valley region the county borders five counties: Narok County to the West, Nakuru County, Kiambu County and Nairobi County to the North, Machakos County, Makueni County and Taita-Taveta County to the East and Tanzania to the South. Kajiado, which borders Tanzania has five main sub-counties: Kajiado North, South, East, West, and Central.

The Commission visited Indepen sub-location in Kajiado west, and Oligira and Emarti sublocations in Kajiado central sub-counties to assess the status of marginalization 10 years after devolution.

CRA Team with the Deputy County Commissioner Mr Barasa Wafula, and Area Chief of Emarti Sub location and a resident.

Vast dry land with no water

Indepen sub-location in Kajiado West Sub-county has never received any rain for over two years now. Being on the leeward side of Lake Magadi, the area is predisposed to dry winds and hence rarely receives any rain. The only well serving the sub-location is over 10 km away, villagers have to start out as early as 2:00 am on foot to this nearest water point in Torosei town.

Emarti sub-location has one borehole that serves the only primary school in the sub-location and the rest of the community who have to travel for over 20 km to get here. The area chief Mr Kone Ntusero laments the perennial lack of water in the area and the difficult terrain the villagers have to endure to get to this water point.

In Oligira sub Location, the nearest water point is a long way off and serves both as a cattle dip and a water point for the residents. People have to travel over 12 km and pay the operator Ksh. 50 per cow to drink water. During the dry season, most cows died and the owners do not have any money for diesel, as a result, no water for the animals and households.

CRA team held discussions with the area administration in Oligira Sublocation led by the Assistant Count Commissioner Ms Gertrudes Mbogo

Zero room for transition to secondary school

Across the three sub-locations visited, there is only one primary school in each sub-location and no secondary school. Most of the students drop out in class eight and the handful who meet the minimum requirements have to travel miles away to the main town for secondary school education.

Ilbisil the nearest town to Indepen sub-location IS 70km away. Mashuuru town is the nearest to Oligira and Emarti and the distance is on average 70km from both sub-locations. Most of these primary schools have few qualified teachers; the long distance and lack of water have contributed to the high turnover of teachers in these areas. The sad story of Indepen, as explained by the Head teacher of Indepen Primary school Mr Topoika Mwanda, is that parents have to fetch water for both the homes and school in an effort to prevent teachers from leaving the school.

At least three women die due to lack of basic health services in Indepen

An abandoned dispensary in Emarti has since been converted into a home or office for local area administrators. The nearest health facility from Indepen is a dispensary 20km away in Torosei Town. There are no health facilities with qualified medical personnel in Torosei or Emarti. Critical health services like maternity are unheard of and it is estimated that three women die every year in Torosei during the labour process.

There is no health facility in the Oligira sub-location. A structure meant to serve as a dispensary has been converted into a teachers’ quarters. The villagers now rely on traditional herbal medicine.


The dispensary structure of the Emarti Sub location is now converted into a Chiefs Office and residential home

Poor road network and difficult terrains

The three sub-locations are tucked within heavy thickets that have hilly terrains and rough roads with deep trenches and dusty roads. There are numerous dry river beds along the way. During the rainy seasons, however, the roads are swept away and the sublocations are completely isolated due to the heavy flooding. Most of the water culverts set up by previous county administrations have been destroyed by floods.

The road to Emarti is very rocky and slippery and not clearly demarcated, we had to pass through dry river beds and deep thickets to get to the main centre about 60km from Mashuuru town.

The sub-locations are not connected to electricity but the high degrees of solar heat and temperatures of over 40 degrees could support solar energy generation.

Key Marginalization Issues in Kajiado

The main issues identified by the Commission are majorly lack of water, hospitals, secondary school, and basic road infrastructure. The challenge of impassable roads and difficult terrains is slowing down development in these seemingly secluded areas. The equalization fund will be beneficial to the marginalized areas in Kajiado County if the fund is channelled to these specific needs.

The team led by Commissioner Dr Irene Asienga and Director Lineth Oyugi held successful engagements with both Kajiado County Commissioner Mr Harun Kamau and Governor H.E. Joseph Ole Lenku and their teams. A number of key issues were raised and deliberated on including the team ranking of 10 marginalized sub-locations from the list of proposed marginalized areas to be included in the Third Policy.

About the Policy Identifying Marginalized Areas

The Equalization Fund was established in the new constitution to improve basic services such as water, health, roads and electricity among others in marginalized areas. The Commission is mandated to develop policies for identifying marginalized areas and regularly review the marginalized areas for purposes of the Equalization Fund. The Commission reviews the policy after every three years.

The Third Policy and criteria for sharing revenue among marginalized areas are currently under development. The Policy benefits from the most recent data of the 2019 Population and Housing Census by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

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