Why Kenyans are Happier Upcountry – Report 

Nairobi residents queuing for water.
  • The latest Infotrak report titled CountyTrak Happinness Index 2020, released on August 9, showed Kenyans living in the major cities and towns were generally the most unhappy.

    None of the major cities made it to the top 20 list of the most happy counties.

    “City dwellers are seemingly an angry and frustrated lot. Although towns have better services, the lack of social support and environmental ergonomics coupled with congestion, pollution and economic pressures just makes city dwellers a dull and unhappy lot,” the report reads in part.

    Nairobi and Mombasa residents were ranked as the 3rd and 4th unhappiest in all counties following the latest survey.

    Nairobi residents queuing for water.

    Incidentally Makueni County ranked first in the happiness index, climbing 42 places since the last survey was carried out in 2015.

    The top drivers for happiness were listed as: peace, education, quality healthcare, food security, infrastructure, equitable development and good governance.

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    Makueni Governor Kivutha Kibwana’s development record in his home county has seen a rapid transformation, which coincides with the high happiness ranking.

    On the contrary, Samburu dropped from being number 1 in 2015 to 31 in the latest report.

    There have been various clashes in the area over the last few years, and with peace used as a major driver to happiness, the locals have found it hard to come by.

    On March 21, 2017, ten people were killed in fresh clashes pitting Borana and Samburu herders in Kom area of Isiolo.

    The conflict is reported to have arisen after Borana herders launched an attack on the Samburu camp after the latter defied instructions and forcefully grazed their animals past the area they were allocated by the native Borana elders. 

    The top 10 happiest counties in descending order were listed as: Makueni, West Pokot, Machakos, Bomet, Kwale, Elgeyo Marakwet, Marsabit, Uasin Gishu, Kericho and Mandera.

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    Taita Taveta residents were listed as the unhappiest with an index of 48.9%.

    The report noted that engaging people in governance and decision making processes generally ignited ownership and boosted morale.

    Major cities, despite being furnished with state of the art amenities still ranked poorly mostly due to overpopulation which consequently results in a scramble for limited resources.

    On July 30, Murang’a Senator Irungu Kang’ata, while speaking to kenyagist.com, explained that his 3rd basis revenue sharing proposed formula was a major win for marginalised communities.

    Their manageable populations translated into a larger slice of the revenue pie per head.

    Ever since the onset of the devolved system of government, Kenyans have been steadily moving out of cities and into rural towns.

    The huge difference in cost of living, as well as a new surge in revenue generating opportunities in these areas could explain the new phenom.

    Pedestrians assisted by traffic police at a zebra crossing in Nairobi, on Monday, October 21, 2019
    Pedestrians assisted by traffic police at a zebra crossing in Nairobi, on Monday, October 21, 2019
    Simon Kiragu

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