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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)

Garissa presents two sides of one town

Published on 12/11/2008
By Boniface Ongeri and Adow Jubat

Garissa town presents two contrasting worlds.
One side features modern hotels and business blocks, which makes the town a business hub.
But the immediate outskirts have run-down manyattas (known in Somali as herio) where the poor live inches away from their herds.
The juxtaposition of rural poverty and urban affluence presents the biggest challenges in delivering services in the North Eastern Province (NEP) headquarters.

Garissa town, along Ngamia Road.

This perhaps led to the recent crackdown dubbed, ‘Operation Restore Garissa Cadey (Somali for cleanliness).
The operation was meant to end the mushrooming manyatta slums and open the way for expansion of the town.
Garissa Mayor Abdullahi Yussuf says despite the challenges his council is determined to make the town a modern metropolis.

Hard decisions
"If we are to be a world class town, some things have to give way, he says, of the decision to demolish the slums.
The slum dwellers mostly come from drought-prone areas of the province.
Others are refugees from areas prone to cattle rustling or those running away from harsh conditions in refugee camps.
And if there is someone who could change the dusty image of Garissa it is Mayor Yussuf.
He reports to work daily wearing a neat beard and a well pressed Kaunda suit in a place where many councillors turn up at the town Hall clad in kikois.

"I will do it. During my term I can transform this town into an economic hub," he told The Standard in a recent interview.
But the odds against his ambition are many and he knows them.
The most outstanding feature is the Tana River, which flows wide and silent before it enters neighbouring Tana River District.
The Tana River Bridge at the town stands on the provincial boundary, one side is in NEP, while the other is in Coast Province.
And for long, the river itself has been both a blessing and sources of misery.

Floods havoc
It is a key source of water for the town’s residents and livestock, but when it rains it bursts its banks, wreaking floods havoc.
Many people, especially those living in manyattas, have also been killed crocodiles from the river.
The mayor and his team, also have to grapple with a rising population of about 200,000.
Local Mayor Adullahi Yussuf talks to US marine Kevin Countermine (left) and captain Paul Gichuhi from the Kenya Army.
The town’s sewerage system serves only 373 of 2,000 business units in a town.
The town is served by diesel-generated power, which can only cater for 6.4 per cent of the population.
The Garissa District Development office report says only 6,823 house holds are connected to the main water supply.

Board member
The mayor is a board member of the Northern Water and Sewerage Board, which supplies water to the residents.
"Sarce amenities are stretched to the limit and most residents are short of, for instance water," he says.
The jury is still out on the performance of the board four years later.
Garissa town is the gateway to North Eastern Province and the Horn of Africa, giving it a vantage point in terms of trade and development.

Local legend has it that, British colonial rulers, who established it as their gateway to NEP and Somalia, named it Garissa after a Pokomo elder Karisa.

The town has over 17,000 registered traders at the council with informal sector taking the largest share.
Trade in the district revolves around agricultural products, general merchandise, hospitality and service industry. There are no major manufacturing industries.

On the outskirts, there is potential for tourism, but a history of banditry and cattle rustling has kept off many would-be visitors.
"Garissa has so much potential," says former North Eastern PC Mohammud Saleh, who is credited with eradicating of banditry in the province.

"It is not just a town. We dream of a city where people from this region would forget other towns.
"If Garissa prospers, so will the country," he says.

Bitting poverty
Due to poverty, beggars and street children are also a big problem the council has to deal with.
On a good note, Garissa Municipal Council has a resident camp to monitor terror cells in ungoverned Somalia.
The marines have helped put up garbage collection centres and installed dustbins at strategic points.

clan differences
But clan wrangles bog down the local authority operations. Often, politicians meddle with the vacancies, installing their own in return for support.
The clans accuse one another of corruption and rarely unite in development matters.
Such discontent often spills into the streets and residents still complain of discrimination.

"Those with influence or cash are given priority. Most of us who cannot afford the services continue suffering and die from poor sanitary conditions," says Miss Zeinabu Ahmed a resident.
But Yussuf, ODM nominated councillor, says everybody will be on board to develop the town.
"I made several pledges while running for office. I believe with the help of everyone, we can make this town the pride of NEP," he says.


13,407 Posts this rate we will be creating threads for virtually every small town in Kenya. Maybe its better to post this in the smaller towns and cities thread or the Kenya country gallery...until God willing we have our own forum.

3,602 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited) this rate we will be creating threads for virtually every small town in Kenya. Maybe its better to post this in the smaller towns and cities thread or the Kenya country gallery...until God willing we have our own forum.
My anticipation is that we are going to get our own Kenyan Thread(I see no reason we won't). Since the Alshabab threat was realized the strategic importance of Garissa cannot be gainsaid, I also think their is need for balance, True Garissa may not be one of the biggest town in Kenya but Iam informed for reasons of equitable representation it is just fair to have North Eastern Province Re-presented by its largest business Hub.

3,602 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)


Kenya Army Ready for Attack
June 26th, 2009

Minister of State for Provincial Administration and Internal Security Prof. George Saitoti accompanied by his assistant Orwa Ojode and PS Francis Kimemia at a past function.

The government has moved to reassure its citizens of heightened security along its borders following threats of invasion by Somali Islamist militants. CHRIS OJOW

Nairobi — Kenya’s military is preparing to protect its borders and refugees seeking a safe haven in the country following threats by extremists in Somalia to attack Nairobi.

The extremists, who have been fighting the Somalia government, have threatened to attack if Kenya sends its army to support the beleaguered transitional government. But the Kenyan military has been on high alert to prevent and — if need be — respond to any foreign attack.

At the same time, MPs on Thursday asked the government to close the border with Somalia and stop the movement of people from the war-torn Horn of Africa nation into Kenya.

The Parliamentary Committee on National Security described the threats by extremists as serious. “The threats require drastic action from the government,” said committee chairman Fred Kapondi, who is also the MP for Mt Elgon.

Mr Kapondi said people flocking into the country from Somalia posed a major security threat and should be blocked from entering Kenya. He said his committee and that of Foreign Affairs and Defence would jointly petition the government to take drastic action to protect its borders.

The Islamic militants, backed by foreign al-Qaeda fighters have been battling to topple the embattled government of President Sheikh Sharrif. Fifteen Somali MPs have so far fled to Kenya and their government has declared a state of emergency and called for urgent military support from the international community, including its neighbours.

Unconfirmed reports said a “Zulu alert” has been declared in some military installations. The alert means the county is in danger of attack and requires soldiers to be ready for action. There were also reports that some bases had cancelled leave and off days for their soldiers.

One soldier told the Nation that the Chief of General Staff, General Jeremiah Kianga, addressed soldiers at Moi Airbase, Nairobi, shortly before he left for Rwanda and informed them of the new leave orders.

On Thursday, there were reports in Garissa that al-Shabaab, the main militant group in Somalia, had threatened to blow up a crucial bridge that links northern Kenya with the rest of the country to prevent deployment of troops.

A special police rapid response unit has since been sent to guard the bridge. All vehicles and passengers are being thoroughly searched. “Our security is on high alert,” government spokesman Alfred Mutua said during the weekly briefing in Nairobi on Thursday. “Kenya will protect its citizens and the refugees near the border will be given the necessary comfort.

The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad), which is chaired by President Kibaki, is expected to meet on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Sirte, Libya, on Monday. Igad has taken a hard line on the extremists and Eritrea, which is supporting them. Eritrea is mainly looking for a new theatre for its hostilities with Ethiopia, which in 2006 routed the Somalia Islamists. The two countries are technically in a state of war.

An Igad meeting of ministers towards the end of May petitioned the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against Eritrea, which is a member of Igad. Eritrea has denied US President Barrack Obama a visa, though the administration is willing to engage the African state in dialogue.

Kenya Army

In North Eastern Province, which borders Somalia, security forces were working to thwart possible infiltrations and cross-border movements by Islamist fighters. Most police stations and police posts across the barren frontier had been reinforced, according to police sources.

Police checks along the Mandera-Nairobi road have also been tightened. “We are carrying out strict security measures as we are on alert following what is goings-on in Somalia,” Wajir police boss Julius Kitili said. “We have intensified and tightened patrols.”

There are fewer Somalis crossing the border illegally into Wajir as a result of the tighter controls. “We are now arresting an average of three Somalis a day. They are mostly arraigned in court and repatriated to their country,” said Mr Kitili.

The Kenya Army has also increased its presence on the border, strangling the smuggling of sugar and other commodities from Somalia into Kenya.

Further down the border, the flow of refugees into camps has increased. According to the UNHCR, an estimated 200 refugees are crossing into Kenya every day. There are 275,000 Somali refugees in Kenya.

Meanwhile, Washington has sent weapons to the Somalia government after the go-ahead from the UN Security Council, sources told Reuters. When a moderate Islamist was elected president in January, there was hope he could end nearly two decades of bloodshed in Somalia by reconciling with hardliners who want to impose a strict version of Islamic law across Somalia.

But Osama bin Laden declared President Sheikh Sharif Ahmed an enemy in an audio tape released in March. He called on the insurgents to topple the government.

The Washington Post on Thursday said arms and ammunition had been sent to the Somalia government in a move signalling that President Obama’s administration wanted to thwart the hardliners. “It’s confirmed. They received approval from the UN Security Council,” an international security source said.

While there is a UN arms embargo on Somalia, the source said the Security Council had agreed to a waiver procedure for the new weapons and ammunition.

Another foreign security source said arms had come into Somalia for the government via Uganda, which provides half the 4,300 African Union troops protecting key sites in Mogadishu.

Reported by Dominic Wabala, Kenneth Ogosia, Oliver Mathenge, Abdullahi Jama and Reuters

3,602 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Nomad Palace Hotel

Is a deluxe hotel, redefines luxury with excellent standards.It is located on one acre piece of land along Kismayu road in Garissa, the largest town in Northern Kenya and one of the fastest growing municipalities in the country.This is a prime location about two hundred meters from the River Tana and within the vicinity of most government securities agencies.It is also a walking distance to the town's main shopping area, the bus terminus and the airstip. It is ideal for the business traveler, conferences and workshops as well as families visiting the region.

Premium Member
33,702 Posts
Even with the obvious population decline in Southern Somalia since the start of the war, I believe that cities like Kismaayo, Jamaame, and Marka have larger populations than Garissa, so it can't be the biggest town between Nairobi and Mogadishu by a long shot.

Still, good stuff, hope for more updates!

3,602 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Even with the obvious population decline in Southern Somalia since the start of the war, I believe that cities like Kismaayo, Jamaame, and Marka have larger populations than Garissa, so it can't be the biggest town between Nairobi and Mogadishu by a long shot.

Still, good stuff, hope for more updates!
Thanks Xusein for the Infor:
My Title should read; Garissa:- Important Town Between Nairobi & Mogadishu | Kenya | City Gallery

The Region

If Iam to draw a somewhat straight line between Nairobi and Mogadishu these are the town that we come accross.

Nairobi, Thika, Garissa(Kenya), Kismayo, Buaale, Merca, Mogadishu (Somalia).

Details (Wikipaedia*)
Thika: Thika is a market town in Central Province, Kenya, lying on the A2 road 40 km north east of Nairobi, and on the Thika River. Thika has a population of 88,265 (1999 census)[ and is growing rapidly, as is the entire greater Nairobi area. The elevation of Thika is 1531 meters (5026 feet) in altitude.

Garissa: The population of Garissa district for 2003 is projected at 368,593 persons (excluding the 130,000 refugee population), with an urban population of 92,032. Of the total population, 25% lives in Garissa town, which acts as a safety net for those who lost their livestock during drought and seek part-time jobs to sustain their livelihood.

These poor urbanites used to be able to find a safety net in the cattle market, the major employer. The district depends on the market more than any other district in the northeastern province. Up to 3,000 head of cattle with an average price of 8,000 KSh change hands every Wednesday
in Garissa cattle market.

Kismayo: Kismayo or Kismayu is a port city in the Jubbada Hoose region of Somalia and is the country's third largest city (after Mogadishu and Hargeisa.) It is situated 328 miles (528 km) southwest of Mogadishu, near the mouth of the Jubba River, where that river flows into the Indian Ocean. As of 2008, the population is calculated to be around 70,000. As of 1993, the population was estimated at 170,000, Kismayu's estimated population in 2002 was 201,000.
Infor: Wikipaedia

Buaale: Bu'aale is the capital town of Jubbada Dhexe, in southern Somalia in the Jubba River valley. It is situated in Middle Juba, or Jubbada Dhexe. (juuh-bad-duhh-theh-heh).
Infor: Wikipaedia

Merca: Merca (Somali: Marka, Arabic: مركا‎) is a port city in southern Somalia on the Indian Ocean. It is the main city in the Lower Shabele region and is located approximately 70 km (45 miles) southwest of the capital Mogadishu. Population estimated at 350,000.
Infor: Wikipaedia

3,602 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Garissa and Environs

The Garissa Community Giraffe sanctuary (GCGS)


Category: conservation issues | Date: Feb 26 2009 | By: giraffesanctuary

The Garissa Community Giraffe sanctuary (GCGS) falls within the immediate sub urban environment of Garissa Town bordering the dry dusty Bour-Algi village. The Village located 3 KM south of Garissa Town, found itself, in the early 1990s, at the centre of a surprising influx of giraffes. These were internally displaced and migrants giraffes from the border areas, that run for safety following the collapse of the republic of Somalia. With exceptional reception, more giraffe continued to arrive from far areas of Garissa district and Somalia where poaching was still rampant. Initially 30 individuals arrived and in less than 4 years, the Giraffe population in the Sanctuary had increased to over 300 individuals.

Currently, the giraffes are the most visible beneficiaries of the tolerance of local people becoming so habituated to a human presence they could be seen browsing from the tops of the abundant Acacia tortilis that dot the area. The giraffes move freely within human settlement, or stoop to drink from close to where the local women are drawing water. Villagers came to view these giraffes –now nearly 400 of them, treating them with respect as fellow members of the community. Many tourists particularly UN and the strong NGO work force in the area flock the area occasionally, dumbfounded by extraordinary acquaintance of trust that seems to have developed between these giraffes and the locals.
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