North Eastern Province (Kenya)

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North Eastern Province
Woqooyi Bari
Former Province
Location in Kenya.
Location in Kenya.
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Country  Kenya
Counties 3
Capital Garissa
 • Total 127,358.5 km2 (49,173.4 sq mi)
Population (2009)
 • Total 2,310,757
 • Density 18/km2 (47/sq mi)
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)

The North Eastern Province (Somali: 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. Previously known as the Northern Frontier District (NFD), the territory was carved out of the Jubaland region of present-day southern Somalia during the colonial period.[1] It is and has historically been primarily inhabited by ethnic Somalis.[2][3]


The Northern Frontier District came into being in 1925, when it was carved out of the Jubaland region in present-day southern Somalia.[1] 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.[4] Britain retained control of the southern half of the territory, which was later called the Northern Frontier District (subsequently renamed the North Eastern Province).[1]

On June 26, 1960, four days before granting British Somaliland independence, the British government declared that all Somali-inhabited areas of East Africa should be unified in one administrative region. However, after the dissolution of the former British colonies in the region, Britain granted administration of the Northern Frontier District to Kenyan nationalists despite an informal plebiscite demonstrating the overwhelming desire of the region's population to join the newly formed Somali Republic,[5] and the fact that the NFD was almost exclusively inhabited by ethnic Somalis.[6]

On the eve of Kenya's independence in August 1963, British officials belatedly realized that the new Kenyan regime was not willing to give up the Somali-inhabited areas it had just been granted administration of. Led by the Northern Province People's Progressive Party (NPPPP), Somalis in the NFD vigorously sought union with their kin in the Somali Republic to the north.[7] In response, the Kenyan government enacted a number of repressive measures designed to frustrate their efforts in what came to be known as the Shifta War:[2]

Somali leaders were routinely placed in preventive detention, where they remained well into the late 1970s. The North Eastern Province was closed to general access (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), and news from it was very difficult to obtain. A number of reports, however, accused the Kenyans of mass slaughters of entire villages of Somali citizens and of setting up large "protected villages" -- in effect concentration camps. The government refused to acknowledge the ethnically based irredentist motives of the Somalis, making constant reference in official statements to the shifta (bandit) problem in the area.[2]

Although the conflict ended in a cease-fire, Somalis in the region still identify and maintain close ties with their brethren in Somalia.[8] They have traditionally married within their own community and formed a cohesive ethnic network.[9]


As of 2009, the North Eastern Province has a population of 2,310,757 residents.[10] It is almost entirely inhabited by ethnic Somalis. The main Somali clans in the area are the Ogaden, Gurreh, Murale, Ajuran, and Degodia.[3][11]


North Eastern Province has thirteen constituencies represented in the National Assembly of Kenya.

As the capital of Garissa County, Garissa is the seat of the County Government of Garissa as well as the County Assembly. The city is represented by Aden Bare Duale, a Somali Member of Parliament for the Garissa Township Constituency and who also doubles as the Leader of the Majority in the legislature. He was appointed to the position in the 2013 General Elections.


The Almond Resort in Garissa.

Livestock 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.[12] In terms of livestock imports, most of Garissa's cattle comes from cross-border trade between Somali livestock merchants.[13]


North Eastern Province 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.[14]

Climate and habitat

North Eastern Province 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 are no major rivers, aside from a few tributaries of the Jubba River. Wildlife in the area include the gazelle and giraffe.


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 2007

District[15] Capital
Fafi Bura
Garissa Garissa
Ijara Masalani
Mandera Central El Wak
Mandera East Mandera
Mandera West Takaba
Wajir East Wajir
Wajir North Bute
Wajir South Habaswein
Wajir West Griftu

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Osman, Mohamed Amin AH (1993). Somalia, proposals for the future. SPM. pp. 1–10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Rhoda E. Howard, Human Rights in Commonwealth Africa, (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.: 1986), p.95
  3. 3.0 3.1 William T. Pink, George W. Noblit. International Handbook of Urban Education. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 130.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Oliver, Roland Anthony (1976). History of East Africa, Volume 2. Clarendon Press. p. 7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. David D. Laitin, Politics, Language, and Thought: The Somali Experience, (University Of Chicago Press: 1977), p.75
  6. 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
  7. Bruce Baker, Escape from Domination in Africa: Political Disengagement & Its Consequences, (Africa World Press: 2003), p.83
  8. Godfrey Mwakikagile, Kenya: identity of a nation, (Godfrey Mwakikagile: 2007), p.79.
  9. 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Kenya Census 2009". Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 7 January 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. John O. Oucho, Undercurrents of Ethnic Conflict in Kenya, Volume 3 of African Social Studies Series, (BRILL: 2002), p.51.
  12. Government targets Kshs 12 b for development in N. Eastern
  13. Livestock Supply in Kenya
  14. History of Wajir Airport
  15. Ministry of State for Provincial Administration and National Security

External links