North Eastern Province (Kenya)

The North Eastern Province (Somali: Gobolka Woqooyi Bari) is one of the former provinces in Kenya. It has a land area of 127,358.5 km2, with its capital at Garissa. Britain administration left the Northern Kenya to the control of Kenyan Government. It is and has been inhabited by most Kenyan ethnicities including ethnic Somalis.[1][2]

North Eastern Province
Woqooyi Bari
Location in Kenya
Location in Kenya
Coordinates: 1°0′N 40°15′E / 1.000°N 40.250°E / 1.000; 40.250Coordinates: 1°0′N 40°15′E / 1.000°N 40.250°E / 1.000; 40.250
Country Kenya
 • Total127,358.5 km2 (49,173.4 sq mi)
 • Total3,510,757
 • Density28/km2 (71/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)


The Northern Frontier District came into being in 1925. At the time under British colonial administration, the northern half of Jubaland was ceded to Italy as a reward for the Italians' support of the Allies during World War I.[3] Britain retained control of the southern half of the territory, which was later called the North Eastern Province).[4]

British granted British Somaliland independence. However, after the dissolution of the former British colonies in the region, Britain granted administration of the Northern Frontier District to Kenyan nationalists and the fact that the North Eastern Province was majorly inhabited by ethnic Kneyan Somalis.[5]

Supposedly, in 1962, at the urging of the Somalia government, the British appointed a commission to ascertain the desires of the inhabitants of the Northern Frontier District regarding its future. The commissioners allegedly reported that the inhabitants of two of the six administrative areas of the Northern Frontier District considered union with the fragile Somali Republic.[6] Early in 1963, Somalia belligerently insisted that no decision would be made regarding the Northern Kenya without prior consultation. However, Britain was under no legal obligation to follow the wishes of the inhabitants of the Northern Frontier District and cede the territory to the Somalia Republic. It was a decision that was made for the benefit of the entire region. On 8 March 1963, Britain announced the creation of the North East Region. Unsatisfied with this solution, the belligerent Somali Republic hurriedly severed diplomatic relations (as has been the case with many of their bilateral relations) with the United Kingdom on 18 March 1963.[7]

On the eve of Kenya's independence in August 1963, British officials realized that the new Kenyan regime would be the best administrator granted Kenya's stability. The Kenyan Somalis violently and vigorously sought union with Somalia. The whole reason for a chaotic outcome.[8]

As a legally installed and responsible state, the Kenyan government enacted a number of legal measures designed to persuade Kenyan Somali warmongers in what came to be known as the shifta (bandits) period:[1] Somali warmongers were routinely placed in preventive detention, where they remained well taken care of. Because of the upheaval and the susceptibility of the community to incitement, the North Eastern Province was closely monitored (along with other parts of Kenya) as a "scheduled" area (ostensibly closed to all outsiders, including members of parliament, as a means of protecting the nomadic inhabitants). A number of conspiracies and unfounded allegations, however, accused the government of going hard on the warmongers and of setting up large "protected villages"—in effect concentration camps. The government refused to acknowledge the ethnically based irredentist motives and the propaganda fed to Kenyan Somalis, making constant reference in official statements to the shifta (bandit) problem in the area.[1]

Although the senseless conflict ended in a cease-fire in 1967, a few Kenyan Somalis in the North Eastern Province are not quite appreciative and patriotic of Kenya. [9] As such, a few Kenyan Somalis do not integrate with their fellow Kenyans, are secluded and have traditionally married within their own community and formed an ethnic group (divided by clan wars).[10]


As of 2009, the North Eastern Province had a population of 2,310,757 residents.[11] These census results were however nullified by the then Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya citing inconsistencies in the birth and death rates.[12]

The Kenyan Somalis who live in the North Eastern Province in Kenya are close to three million (3,000,000) in the 2019 Kenya National Census with another 400,000 Somalia refugees in several Kenya refugee camps.[citation needed]


North Eastern Province has thirteen constituencies (well funded by the Kenyan Government) represented in the National Assembly of Kenya. Kenyan Somalis enjoy a thriving business environment in the entire territory of Kenya and are known to relate very well (businesswise) with fellow Kenyans - explaining business success.

Kenyan Somalis also enjoy over-representation in the government of Kenya, with the representation being; several Somali governors, several Somali woman representatives, Somali Members of Parliament, several Somali Members of County Assemblies, several Somali chiefs, powerful Cabinet ministers over the years, Somali Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Judges in the Kenyan Judiciary, Heads of parastatals, Leading Kenyan somali scholars.

As the capital of Garissa County, Garissa is the seat of the County Government of Garissa as well as the County Assembly. Garissa Township Constituency is represented by Aden Bare Duale, a Somali Member of Parliament for the Garissa Township Constituency and who also doubles as the former powerful Leader of the Majority in the legislature. Kenyans appointed him to the position in the 2013 general elections. The county is also home to Ijara, Dadaab, Lagdera, Fafi and Balambala constituencies.[13]

Wajir is the largest county in the former North Eastern Province with approximately an area of 56,000km2. The county has six constituencies. They include Eldas, Tarbaj, Wajir East, Wajir North, Wajir West, and Wajir South.[14]

Mandera County is at the furthermost bordering both Somalia and Ethiopia. It has six Kenyan constituencies. These constituencies include Banissa, Lafey, Mandera East, Mandera North, Mandera South, Mandera West and Takaba.[15]


The Kenyan economy is a free market economy and is the most thriving in the economy. Therefore business enterprises keep thriving (including in places like Eastleigh) relative to the Horn and East and Central Regional economies.

The Almond Resort in Garissa

Livestock and agricultural production is a significant part of the region's economy. Between 2005 and 2007, Garissa cattle producers earned over 1.8 billion shillings in sales in domestic and overseas markets. Construction on a new abattoir also began in October 2007.[16] In terms of livestock imports, most of Garissa's cattle comes from cross-border trade between Somali livestock merchants.[17]


Northern Kenya is served by the Wajir Airport. It handles about seven flights per day. As of September 2012, civil flights are offered twice a week by Echo. Most flights, however, are cargo. Some charter and military flights are additionally accommodated.[18]

Climate and habitatEdit

Northern Kenya has a semi-arid and hot desert climate (Köppen BSh and BWh). Rain falls infrequently, usually only around April or October, and quite sporadically from year to year.

There is a major river called Tana River which is located in the southwestern section of the region. Wildlife in the area include the lion, elephant, buffalo, zebra, hyena, gazelle, giraffe, leopard, cheetah, and ostrich. Hippopotamus and crocodiles are mainly located on the river.


Code County Former province Area (km2) Population
Census 2009
7 Garissa North Eastern 45,720.2 623,060 Garissa
8 Wajir North Eastern 55,840.6 661,941 Wajir
9 Mandera North Eastern 25,797.7 1,025,756 Mandera
Totals 127,358.5 2,310,757 -

After 2007Edit

District[19] Capital
Fafi Bura
Garissa Garissa
Ijara Masalani
Lafey Constituency Lafey
Mandera Central El Wak
Mandera East Mandera
Mandera West Takaba
Wajir East Wajir
Wajir North Bute
Wajir South Habaswein
Wajir West Griftu


  1. ^ a b c Rhoda E. Howard, Human Rights in Commonwealth Africa, (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.: 1986), p.95
  2. ^ William T. Pink, George W. Noblit (3 September 2008). International Handbook of Urban Education. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 130. ISBN 9781402051999.
  3. ^ Oliver, Roland Anthony (1976). History of East Africa, Volume 2. Clarendon Press. p. 7.
  4. ^ Osman, Mohamed Amin AH (1993). Somalia, proposals for the future. SPM. pp. 1–10.
  5. ^ Francis Vallat, First report on succession of states in respect of treaties: International Law Commission twenty-sixth session 6 May-26 July 1974, (United Nations: 1974), p.20
  6. ^ Drysdale, John (1964). The Somali Dispute. Pall Mall Press.
  7. ^ Kromm, David (1967). "Irredentism in Africa: The Somali-Kenya Boundary Dispute". Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science. 70 (3): 359–365. doi:10.2307/3627482. JSTOR 3627482.
  8. ^ Bruce Baker, Escape from Domination in Africa: Political Disengagement & Its Consequences, (Africa World Press: 2003), p.83
  9. ^ Godfrey Mwakikagile, Kenya: identity of a nation, (Godfrey Mwakikagile: 2007), p.79.
  10. ^ Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. Research Production and Extension Division (2006). Proceedings of 2005 JKUAT Scientific, Technological, and Industrialisation Conference: "leveraging indigenous products and technologies through research for industrialisation and development" : 27th-28th October, 2005. Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Research Production and Extension Division. p. 27. ISBN 9966923284.
  11. ^ "Kenya Census 2009". Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  12. ^ "Some Kenya Census results nullified » Capital News". Capital News. 31 August 2010. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  13. ^ "County Overview – Garissa County Government". Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  14. ^ Government, Wajir County. "Wajir County Government || The Transformaton is ON". Retrieved 30 May 2020. {{cite web}}: Check |url= value (help)
  15. ^ Manderacounty-Admin. "Demographics". County Government of Mandera. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  16. ^ Government targets Kshs 12 b for development in N. Eastern Archived 28 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ Livestock Supply in Kenya
  18. ^ History of Wajir Airport
  19. ^ Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and National Security Archived 5 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine

External linksEdit