Kirinyaga County
Flag of Kirinyaga County
Coat of arms of Kirinyaga County
Location in Kenya
Location in Kenya
Country Kenya
Formed4 March 2013 (2013-03-04)
 • GovernorAnne Waiguru
 • Total1,478.1 km2 (570.7 sq mi)
 • Total610,411[1]
Time zoneUTC+3 (EAT)

Kirinyaga County is a county in the former Central Province of Kenya, located south of Mount Kenya. Its capital is Kutus and its largest town is Wanguru.[2] In 2019, the county had a population of 610,411 people[1] and an area of 1,478.1 km2. The county is bordered to the east and south by Embu County, to the south by a tiny part of Machakos County, to the southwest by Murang'a County and to the northwest by Nyeri County.

Kirinyaga County lies between 1158 and 5199 meters above sea level; its highest point is the summit of Mount Kenya.[3]

Kirinyaga County's governor is Anne Waiguru, who was elected to her first term in 2017, succeeding Joseph Ndathi. She was re-elected in 2022.[4]


The name Kirinyaga is derived from the name of the mountain now called Mount Kenya. When the German explorer Johann Ludwig Krapf came across the mountain, his guide, Kamba trader Chief Kivoi, told Krapf that the mountain was called Kii Nyaa, the Kamba translation of the Kikuyu's Kiri Nyaga. Krapf would then record this as Kenya, a name which would be applied to the mountain and later the country.


Kirinyaga District was established in 1963 from the western part of Embu District.[2] Kerugoya was the district's administrative headquarters. After it became a county, Kutus was made the county Headquarters. In 2007, Kirinyaga District was divided into four new districts:

Rice threshing in Mwea


Since April 2013, the County Government of Kirinyaga has administered all of Kirinyaga County. Formerly, the County Council of Kirinyaga administered the county excluding the area that was administered by the Municipal Council of Kerugoya/Kutus and the Town Council of Sagana-Kagio.[2]

Kirinyaga County's governor is Anne Waiguru, who was elected to her first term in 2017, succeeding Joseph Ndathi. She was re-elected in 2022.[4]


Kirinyaga District is divided as follows:

Local authorities (councils)
Authority Type Population* Urban pop.*
Kerugoya/Kutus Municipality 39,441 14,056
Sagana/Kagio Town 22,475 3,031
Kirinyaga County 395,189 13,103
Total - 457,105 30,190
* 1999 census. Source: [1]
Administrative divisions
Division Population* Urban pop.* Headquarters
Central 74,068 12,585 Kerugoya
Gichugu 121,738 1,988 Kianyaga
Mwea 125,962 7,625 Wanguru
Ndia 135,337 2,960 Baricho
Total 457,105 25,158 -
* 1999 census. Sources: [2], [3]

Electoral constituencies

The county has four constituencies:


Historical population
1979 291,431—    
1989 391,516+34.3%
1999 457,105+16.8%
2009 528,054+15.5%
2019 610,411+15.6%


Religion in Kirinyaga County [6]

Religion (2019 Census) Number
Catholicism 179,316
Protestant 240,600
Evangelical Churches 122,301
African instituted Churches 34.072
Orthodox 2,304
Other Cristian 14,564
Islam 2,425
Hindu 169
Traditionists 233
Other 3,314
No Religion/Atheists 5,580
Don't Know 721
Not Stated 31

Central Kenya Region


Urbanisation in Central Kenya
Urbanisation in Central Kenya (Per cent)
Kiambu County
Nyeri County
Nyandarua County
Muranga County
Kirinyaga County
 Kenya Average

Urbanisation by County in Central Kenya

Source: OpenDataKenya

Poverty level

Wealth/Poverty Level in Central Kenya
Poverty Level in Central Kenya (Per cent)
Kirinyaga County
Muranga County
Kiambu County
Nyeri County
Nyandarua County
 Kenya Average

Poverty level by County

Source: OpenDataKenya Worldbank


Animal husbandry in Kirinyaga County

Like most counties in the Mount Kenya region, agriculture is the main economic activity in Kirinyaga County. The county is best known for rice production from the Mwea Irrigation Scheme, which is watered by canal from the Thiba River. Coffee and tea are also grown in the cooler areas of the county. Other crops grown in the area include maize, beans, tomatoes, French beans, and other horticultural crops. Due to the scarcity of land and high population, most agriculture is done on a small scale. There is also fishing in Sagana along the Sagana River.[7]

Kirinyaga County's business sector is growing quickly. Another significant economic feature is tourism. In 2013 Kirinyaga was ranked the second richest county in Kenya.[7]

Villages and settlements


  1. ^ a b "Kenya Census 2009" – via Scribd.
  2. ^ a b c "County Council of Kirinyaga Website". Archived from the original on 16 August 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  3. ^ "Kirinyaga County Integrated Development plan 2018-2022". Maarifa Centre. Archived from the original on 6 November 2019. Retrieved 6 November 2019.
  4. ^ a b Kejitan, Vincent. "Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru successfully defends her seat". The Standard. Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  5. ^ KENYA: Administrative Division population statistics
  6. ^ "2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census Volume IV: Distribution of Population by Socio-Economic Characteristics" (PDF). Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  7. ^ a b "Mwea Irrigation Scheme". National Irrigation Board. Archived from the original on 18 May 2019. Retrieved 18 May 2019.

0°30′S 37°17′E / 0.500°S 37.283°E / -0.500; 37.283