Our question today in Get To Know The Great Lakes comes from Amina of Mbale, Uganda: “Is Kericho in western Kenya?”
Economically Kericho is in western Kenya
Kericho county whose capital is Kericho town is a member of the Lake Region Economic Block (LREB). LREB brings together counties in to the West of Kenya whose economies are interlinked. The 14 LREB counties around Lake Victoria and her environs are Busia, Kakamega, Bomet, Homabay, Bungoma, Kericho, Kisii, Nyamira, Migori, Nandi, Kisumu, Siaya, Trans Nzoia and Vihiga. This membership in LREB could mean that economically, Kericho is considered to be in western Kenya.
What does the geography say?
Beyond that, if one is to use geographic proximity to determine if Kericho is in Western Kenya, it gets even more interesting. It is not in doubt that Kisumu City is Kenya’s most westerly urban center. But did you know that Kericho Town is just 1 hr 38 min (83.8 km) from Kisumu? Compare this with the distance between Kericho and Eldoret which is a considerable 2 hr 43 min (158.2 km); yet it is common for one to think of Eldoret as being closer to Kericho because of the ethnic links of the two communities that largely reside in the two towns – the Nandi for Eldoret and Kipsigis for Kericho – who are both Kalenjin.
Finally, politically there is reason to place Kericho in Western Kenya. Though Kenya’s politics is fluid and alliances depend on which tribal kingpins are working together, one of the most dominant political forces to ever sweep over western Kenya was the ODM wave of 2007 elections; from Kisumu to Nandi, Homabay to Kericho, Kisii to Kakamega the dominating party was ODM.
This shared political history of Kericho and Western Kenya should count for something especially considering the nature of Kenyan politics where it is not unusual for an area within a region to be excluded for being in the wrong political camp. Therefore, it is only wise for one to read the mood and make a wise decision. This reality of local politics is one that every politician in Kenya is aware of; as it is not unusual for a political giant to lose an election simply because he or she was on the wrong side of a political wave sweeping through their region.
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