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Mpeketoni is a small town and an administrative division in the mainland part of Lamu District, Coast Province, Kenya. It is a settlement scheme started in 1960s by the first president of the Republic of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta near a fresh water lake bearing his name.
Originally, Mpeketoni and its surroundings were inhabited by Swahilis called Wabajuni and a small hunting and gathering tribe by the name of Wasanye or the Sanyes who are almost extinct. In the early 1970s Mpeketoni was transformed into a settlement area for landless Kenyans. Most of those who settled there were Kenyans from up country who had been living in Tanzania but decided to return home due to changing political climate. The Kikuyu tribe, which is traditionally a farming community, mostly populates this area. Other tribes found in Mpeketoni include the Luos and Kambas as well as the original local Swahili people. The land has since been painstakingly transformed to arable land for farming. The main cash crops include maize, cotton, cassava, cashew nuts, mangoes, and bananas.
The division and the division headquarter by the same name is in a route that was used by the Arab traders taking their commodities "slaves" to Lamu Island. Up to now a huge mango tree along the way from Mpeketoni to Lamu Island are still visible and are said to have grown from the seeds of the mangoes slaves were eating.
The population in the late 1990s was estimated to be around 25,000.
The people of Mpeketoni have benefited from the efforts from a variety of non-profit organizations, a German not-for-profit organization GTZ and a Dutch philanthropist with ongoing charity projects since 1987. Schools, a clinic and a church have been built with funds collected from the Netherlands in collaboration with the Groen van Prinsterer school in Vlaardingen, in the Netherlands. The clinic was named Maria Teresa Nuzzo Health Centre after the foundress of the Catholic Sisters' congregation that run it. More information is available at www.wimvandenburg.nl. Mpeketoni is host to Lake Kenyatta, a fresh-water lake that covers about 5 square kilometers. The lake is an ecological site with variety of fish, not less than 3,500 hippos and a large array of birds.
The Division is divided into small administrative villages, including Kiongwe, Baharini, Mkunumbi, Bomani, Uziwa, Mapenya, Lakeside, Kibaoni.
On June 16, 2014, gunmen killed at least 48 people in a bloody attack.
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