In Summary
  • The commercial centre that has a good transport and communication network still boasts of processing and manufacturing industries like the Pan African Heavy Chemicals, Webuye Millers and several cane jaggeries. Cash-strapped Nzoia Sugar Company is several kilometres away
  • Other attractions are Nabuyole Falls, Pan Paper Cultural Centre, River Nzoia and Chetambe Hills
  • The future of Webuye is bright if the government honours its pledge to revive Pan Paper and Nzoia Sugar Company reverses its loss-making streak.

Whenever Webuye is mentioned, many spit and frown before rushing to block their nostrils in an involuntary reaction to a nauseating odour that once filled the town.

As one of the victims of the pollution, I’m ‘happy’ to announce that the stomach-upsetting sulphur-dioxide is no more because its source — Pan African Paper Mills — collapsed in 2009.

Both government and private investors’ efforts to revive this factory that breathed life into the second-largest town in Bungoma County have come to naught.

But this does not mean Webuye also went under. Pan Paper, in fact, closed shop alone — leaving behind a fresher and a cleaner town (with a weak balance sheet, though).

Despite this blow, Webuye people remain clean-hearted. It does not matter whether you are loaded or poor; every visitor to a home in my town is assured of a sumptuous meal of chicken (locally known as engokho) and ugali (busuma).

Located on Nairobi-Eldoret-Malaba highway and Kenya-Uganda Railway, the town that is sheltered from strong winds by Chetambe Hills is inhabited mainly by the Bukusu and Tachoni.

Its business potential has also pulled in investors from other communities including Asians, Kikuyu, Luo, Kamba, Arabs among others.

Before Independence, Webuye was known as Broderick Falls — named after the first white man to visit the nearby Nabuyole Falls on River Nzoia.

The current name is derived from a cobbler who used to repair shoes for railway workers.

With a population of over 75,000, the 69-square-kilometre town that lies on the boundary of Webuye East and Webuye West constituencies is the headquarters of Bungoma East Sub-County.

PRESENCE OF INDUSTRIES

The commercial centre that has a good transport and communication network still boasts of processing and manufacturing industries like the Pan African Heavy Chemicals, Webuye Millers and several cane jaggeries. Cash-strapped Nzoia Sugar Company is several kilometres away.

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