To transform the livelihood of the people of Kisumu county on a foundation of integrity through accountable, efficient and effective leadership that invokes participation and pursuit of quality services, for a prosperous county that is a harbor of excellence.
A prosperous and dynamic county that is a harbor of excellence.
Kisumu, which literally means a place of barter trade "sumo" and officially known as Kisumu City, is the Kenyan inland port city on Lake Victoria and the capital city of Kisumu County, Kenya.
It is the third largest city in Kenya after the capital, Nairobi, and the coastal city of Mombasa. Kisumu is the principal city of western Kenya, the immediate former capital of Nyanza Province, the headquarters of Kisumu County and the proposed headquarters of the Lake Region Economic Block, which is a conglomeration of 15 counties in Western Kenya.
Kisumu was ideally located on the shores of Lake Victoria at the cusp of the Winam Gulf, at the end of the caravan trail from Pemba, Mombasa, Malindi and had the potential for connection to the whole of the Lake region by steamers. In July 1899, the first skeleton plan for Kisumu was prepared. This included landing places and wharves along the northern lake shore, near the present-day Airport Road. Demarcations for Government buildings and retail shops were also included in the plan.
Another plan was later prepared in May 1900, when plots were allocated to a few European firms as well as to Indian traders who had travelled to Kisumu on contracts to build the Uganda Railway and had decided to settle at the expanding terminus. The plan included a flying boat jetty (now used by the Fisheries Department). In October 1900, the 62-ton ship SS William Mackinnon was reassembled and registered in Kisumu, and made its maiden voyage to Entebbe, marking the beginning of the Lake Marine Services. The SS Winifred (1901) and the SS Sybil (1901) were later added to the fleet in 1902 and 1904, respectively. On Friday, 20 December 1901, the railway line reached the Kisumu pier, with the centre adopting a new name, Port Florence.
By February, the railway line had been opened for goods and passenger transportation. Kisumu was also privileged to host the first flight in East and Central Africa; the current police workshop was the first hangar in Kenya and entire East Africa. Before the jet airline era, the city was a landing point on the British flying boat passenger and mail route from Southampton to Cape Town. Kisumu also linked Port Bell to Nairobi.
aerial view of kisumu town
In 1903, the township boundaries were gazetted and some 12,000 acres, including water, set aside for its development. The new township reverted to its original name, Kisumu, in substitution of Port Florence. At this time, there was an 'Old Kisumu', that consisted of two rows of Stalls (Dukas) on Mumias Road, north of the Gulf. It was later demolished in the twenties when new plots became available on Odera and Ogada Streets in the present day Kisumu, hence the new area acquired the name 'New Bazaar'.
By the 1930s and 40s, the city had become a leading East African centre for Commerce, Administrative and Military installations. In the 1960s the population of Asians in relation to locals was significantly higher. The town was elevated to the status of a Municipal Board in 1940 and later to a Municipal Council in 1960.
The city's growth and prosperity slowed down temporarily in 1977, as a result of the collapse of the East African Community. However, the city spurred with the reformation of the community in 1996 and with its designation as a "city." The port has been stimulated by the transformation of international business and trade, as well as the shipments of goods destined for Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.
Currently, Kisumu is one of the fastest growing cities in Kenya. It is thriving with rich sugar and rice irrigation industries, whose contribution to the National economy is immense due to its natural resources and as the epicentre for business in East Africa.
Points of Interest
Attractions in the city include Kibuye Market, Oile Market, the Kisumu Museum, an impala sanctuary, a bird sanctuary, Hippo Point,Shopping malls and the nearby Kit Mikayi and Ndere Island National Park.
Kisumu Museum, established in 1980, has a series of outdoor pavilions laid out in a formation similar to that of a Luo homestead. Some of the pavilions contain live animals. For example, one pavilion contains numerous aquaria with a wide variety of fish from Lake Victoria, along with explanatory posters. Another pavilion contains terrarium containing mambas, spitting cobras, puff adders and other venomous Kenyan snakes. Additionally, out of doors, the museum has a few additional exhibits, including a snake pit and a crocodile container.
Other pavilions show weaponry, jewellery, farm tools and other artefacts made by the various peoples of the Nyanza Province. Additionally, there are exhibits of stuffed animals, birds and fish. One pavilion houses the prehistoric TARA rock art, which was removed for its own protection to the museum after it was defaced by graffiti in its original location.
The museum's most important and largest exhibition is the UNESCO-sponsored Ber-gi-dala. This is a full-scale recreation of a traditional Luo homestead. Ber-gi-dala consists of the home, granaries and livestock corrals of an imaginary Luo man as well as the homes of each of his three wives, and his eldest son. Through signs and taped programs in both Luo and English, the exhibition also explains the origins of the Luo people, their migration to western Kenya, traditional healing plants, and the process of establishing a new home.
Dunga Beach and Wetlands
Dunga Beach and Wetland is known for its unique eco-cultural attractions due to its biodiversity and cultural rich and diverse papyrus wetland ecosystem and local community respectively. Ecofinder Kenya has established Dunga Wetland Pedagogical Centre at Dunga Beach is a grass-root led intervention whose overarching cardinal goal is empowerment of Dunga Wetland Community and improvement of livelihood security of its people. Therefore, some of the main focuses in the centre are promoting Eco-Cultural Tourism and facilitate the conservation of the Dunga Papyrus Wetland Ecosystem.
Kisumu Impala Sanctuary
Kisumu is the location of the Kisumu Impala Sanctuary. During the British rule, Impala Park now sanctuary was called Connaught Parade. Measuring just 0.4 square miles (1.0 km2), the sanctuary is one of Kenya's smallest wildlife preserves. As its name suggests, it is home to a herd of impala. Some hippos, as well as many reptiles and birds are also present. Additionally, several caged baboons and leopards who faced difficulties of one sort or the other in the wild are held in cages there. Over 115 different species of birds live there.
Hippo Point is a 600 acres (240 ha) viewing area on Lake Victoria. Despite its name, it is better known as a viewing point for its unobstructed sunsets over the lake than for its occasional hippos. Hippo point is located near the village of Dunga, a few kilometres South West of the city. The village also has a fishing port and a camping site.
Kit Mikayi, a large rock with three rocks on top, and is located off Kisumu Bondo Road towards Bondo. Kit-mikayi means "Stones of the first wife" or "First Wife Rocks" in Dholuo, the Luo language. It is a weeping rock; it is believed that Mikayi (literally, "the first wife") went up the hill to the stones when her husband took a second wife, and has been weeping ever since.
The Moi stadium is the main stadium of the city and plays home to various teams such as kisumu all stars and kisumu telkom FC. Peter Anyang' Nyong'o, the governor announced that the county will build a brand new stadium while the countries current government has plans to build a national stadium. Kisumu is represented in the nationwide rugby league by Kisumu RFC. The city is also host to a leg of the national rugby sevens circuit, being one of only six city hosts. The Kisumu leg is referred to as the Dala sevens and the annual tournament is extremely popular attracting thousands of fans from across the country.
Kisumu Harbour. The green vegetation is water hyacinth.
Before the jet airline era, Kisumu was a landing point on the British flying boat passenger and mail route from Southampton to Cape Town. Kisumu linked Port Bell and Nairobi.
Kisumu is served by Kisumu Airport which has international status, with regular daily flights to Nairobi and Mombasa. Expansion of the airport cargo facility after completion of the passenger terminals is currently going on in anticipation of increased trade brought about by the recreated East African Community of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.
Lake Victoria ferries have operated from the port linking the railway to Mwanza and Bukoba in Tanzania, and to Entebbe, Port Bell, and Jinja in Uganda.The first steam ships built in Kisumu in 1905 were the SS Sybila and the SS Nyanza.
As mentioned above under 'History', the Uganda Railway from the port of Mombasa reached Kisumu in 1901. Currently (2013) no passenger trains are operated between Nairobi and Kisumu. The newer standard gauge railway is currently (2018) being extended from Nairobi to Kisumu and a new passenger terminus is planned for the city.
President Kibaki launched a Ksh. 6.8 billion road project for a major overhaul of Kisumu's road network on 24 July 2009. The city is connected to the cities of Nakuru Nairobi and Mombasa via the A104 highway and to the north rift city of Eldoret via the B1 highway. A 450km lake victoria ring road along the shores of the lake is currently under construction and will pass by the city.
Kisumu is home to many Universities and colleges:-
- Maseno University
- Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST)
- Great Lakes University
- University of Nairobi-Kisumu Campus
- Catholic University of East Africa-Kisumu Campus
- Daystar University-Kisumu campus
- Ramogi Institute of Advanced Technology (RIAT)
- Tom Mboya Labour College
- DALC Education Kisumu Campus
- Amani Counselling Centre and Training Institute Kisumu
- Nairobi Aviation College, Kisumu Branch
- Intraglobal Training Institute, Kisumu
- International School of Medicine and Technology
- Foundation Institute of Africa
- African Institute of Research and Development Studies, Kisumu City Campus
- KCA University-Kisumu campus
- Kisumu Industrial Training Centre
- Western College of Hospitality and Professional Studies
- Kisumu Polytechnic
- International School of Medicine and Applied Technology
- Kenya College of Accountancy
- Lake Institute of Tropical Medicine
- X-elle School of Hair Design & Beauty
- La-Von School of Hair and Beauty
- Sigotop Career Development College
- Ivory Tower Institute
- Elros Investments Mamboleo
Notable natives and residents
The term used to refer to a resident of Kisumu is jakisumo (plural, jokisumo). Notable jokisumo include
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, politician, the first Vice-President of Kenya
Raila Amolo Odinga, politician, son of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Kenya's former prime minister
Robert Ouko, politician and son of Kisumu Nyahera who was abducted from his Koru, Kenya home. His charred body was found later.
Nicholas Otieno, Pan Africanist, businessman, politician, philanthropist, artist and son of Joseph Otieno Mundhe, credited for a major role in the economic and cultural revolution that has brought tremendous wealth and stability to East-Central Africa.
Lupita Nyong'o, Oscar award winning hollywood actress whose father is the current (2018) governor of Kisumu County.