Gatundu is a small town in Kiambu County of Kenya. It is known for the first Kenyan president Jomo Kenyatta who lived about three kilometres away from the town, as well as his son, Uhuru Kenyatta, now the 4th President of Kenya and former Member of Parliament representing Gatundu South Constituency. The town is located on a hill surrounded by many farms and residences.
Gatundu has an approximate population of 20,000 people who reside and work within and near the town. Majority are youths and children who study or do some work in the town. The elder minority drive the economy as they own businesses and property in the town. Due to alcoholism and hard economy, many young men in the town do not start families leading to a reducing youth population.
Gatundu town is located west of Thika about 29 Kilometers, road distance through Mang'u and north of Kiambu about 44 Kilometers, road distance through Ruiru. It is currently in Kiambu County. Back in 1960s-2007, Gatundu was in Kiambu District which would later be split and Gatundu itself became a District. Gatundu town hosted the district headquarters. Kenyatta Road connects the town to the newly constructed Thika Highway. It is road used to access Nairobi from Gatundu. The town is located on a hill which makes it difficult to expand.
Gatundu is the administrative headquarters of Gatundu and constituency. It also hosts the Gatundu sub- county offices, under the Government of Kiambu led by William Kabogo as the governor.
Gatundu sub-county has two constituencies: Gatundu North Constituency and Gatundu South Constituency. Gatundu South Constituency is represented by Moses Kuria (MK) as the Member of Parliament after Jossy Ngugi Nyumu died in office in May 2014. Moses Kuria was announced the area MP in August 2014 without a by-election after the only opponent, Kiarie Kamere stepped down.
Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, the current president of Kenya was the area MP for 2 terms from 2002-2013.
Gatundu Law Courts are located near the Gatundu District hospital. Modern law courts were built after the old ones once caught fire. The law courts were officially opened in March 2014 by the Kenya's Chief Justice Dr. Willy Mutunga.
People and religion
The Gatundu people on social media formed a registered group to create oneness and self-reliance among the youth and entire community at large. Qwetu Welfare Association aims at creating employment through development initiatives and charitable projects in Gatundu.
Gatundu belongs to rural highland north of capital Nairobi. Local people are mainly of the Kikuyu people also called the Agikuyu. The town also has several people from other ethnic groups in Kenya presented in the region for business purposes.
The people in this town are mostly Christians. Only churches are present, including
- Martyrs of Uganda Catholic Church
- Oasis of Hope
- P.C.E.A Marima
- Christian Church international C.C.I.
- Gospel Power Center
The main economic activity in Gatundu town is business. Businessmen and businesswomen in this town do their day-to-day activities in various businesses. A two storey modern market in the town attracts many buyers and sellers from the neighboring villages and towns. There is only one supermarket called Happy Supermarket and several general stores.
The neighboring villages are agricultural productive and therefore feed the market with fresh agricultural commodities.
Due to investments and businesses in the town, there are various banks, microfinace institutions and SACCO'S including:
- Equity Bank
- Family Bank
- Co-operative Bank
- Pamoja Women Development Programme
- Tai SACCO
- Eekuria SACCO
- Unaitas SACCO
Transport and communication
The local public service vans, minibuses and taxis play a major role in transport industry of this town. Vans (also called matatus) transport passengers from the town to other towns including Nairobi city, Thika, Ruiru, Juja and Kamwangi towns. A big challenge is the road network. Except the roads connecting the town to Nairobi and Thika, all the other roads are dry weather roads which makes it impassable during rainy seasons to connect to the highly productive villages.
Motorbikes also called "boda bodas" are common in the town and therefore competing with taxis which transport people to areas not covered by matatus.
The area is covered well by the local mobile service providers in Kenya namely safaricom, Yu, Orange and Airtel. Mobile phones are therefore commonly used as the means of communication. Several cyber cafes also assist with internet services.
There is also Gatundu Post Office.
The town lacks higher institutions of learning. There is Gatundu Primary School, a public school. Private primary schools are many including:
- Happy Times
- Gloria Primary School
- Good Luck Primary school
- Harti Primary School
Higher Institutions of Learning
The town lacks major higher institutions of learning like universities and colleges. However, Mama Ngina University College has been proposed in the region. Currently, there is Gatundu Institute of Business Studies.
Gatundu Level 4 Hospital serves almost all health needs of the people in this region.
On 13th August, 2013, construction was launched on a Chinese-funded expansion to the Gatundu District Hospital, Gatundu Level IV Hospital, in Kenya. The 5300 square meter expansion included a modern medical wing with five-floors, four elevators, outpatient services, an emergency department, 12 ICU beds, 84 beds, medical laboratory, maternity unit, operating theater, wards, and several units of medical equipment, including CT scanners and X-ray scanners. The assistance by China was in response to a request by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2011 costing about 11 million USD, with an estimated construction time of 20 months. On 13th April 2016, President Uhuru Kenyatta officially opened the new wing of Gatundu Level 4 hospital.
St. Jude Nursing Home located at Gatundu-Juja road is a private hospital. Other private clinics are also established in the region including:
- Health Watch