Political heat erupts as Kenya gears up for the census in August

Kenya gears up for the census in August
Treasury CS Henry Rotich

The Kenyan government has announced that preparations are in top gear to ensure that the planned 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census is a success.

As opposed to the seven previous censuses conducted, the August exercise will be the first census to be undertaken in the new dispensation of a devolved system of governance.

The ministry of Treasury and Planning, says it is taking nothing to chance given that the results of the census will form a key input into the budget allocation to the devolved units.

“We assure you that everything is being done to ensure that the data collected in the 2019 Population and Housing Census, will be of high quality.” Treasury CS Henry Rotich said when he issued an update on the planning for the exercise.

He said the 2019 census is particularly important as it will be a key source of statistical information necessary for formulation and implementation of government policies.

What’s more, the 2019 census comes at a time when the government is in the process of implementing the Big four agenda which covers the period 2018-2022.

“Information from the census will, therefore, provide the requisite benchmark for all the components of the agenda, i.e. Manufacturing, Housing, Universal Health care, and Food Security,” Rotich said The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics has disclosed that recruitment of field personnel, enumerators, content, and ICT supervisors who will spearhead the exercise will officially commence in June 2019.

According to KNBS director general Zachary Mwangi, Ksh18.5 billion has been set aside for the exercise that is expected to take place in seven days.

“The mobile technology to be used during the 2019 Census will demarcate the country into smaller units for the picking of coordinates of homesteads, households, places of interest in the villages,” the agency said in a statement.

Assurances notwithstanding, a section of leaders maintain that the process should be free of any interference. They urged KNBS to conduct a fair and transparent census so as to avoid the shortfalls that befell the 2009 census which to many did not capture the correct figures.

Amani Party leader and opposition politician Musalia Mudavadi is on record saying figures from some regions were exaggerated, thereby placing some communities at an advantage over others in the census that was conducted 10 years ago.

“Given that during the last census, results from eight districts were nullified after an aggregated data revealed an extra one million people, there is need to be more vigilant not to bungle the August enumeration,” he said.

Indeed, leading political figures from Northern Kenya maintain that the 2009 census was flawed and that the figures were skewed. “As leaders from this region, we are beginning to realize that history repeats itself.

The government of the day has embarked on reintroducing an exclusionist approach to sharing of national resources,” Mandera governor Ali Roba said. KNBS says the month of August is best suited for the census since there are fewer major festivities and schools are closed for holidays.


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