Kenya: Shortage of materials, rains, border disputes mar census

The national population census got off to a rocky second day as several incidents threatened to undermine the exercise.


Shortage of census materials, uniforms and badges, boundary disputes, heavy rains, cultural challenges, and unco-operative citizens were some of the hiccups at the beginning of the national population tally that entered day two, Tuesday. These incidents did not, however, deter enumerators as senior census officials led by the Director General of the Kenya Bureau of Statistics Anthony Kilele reassured the public they were addressing the challenges and that all Kenyans would be counted.

Most Kenyans who had gone home early on Monday, expecting to be tallied, expressed fear they may not be counted by the time the exercise ends on August 31.

At the Bureaus first briefing yesterday at Herufi House in Nairobi, Kilele said: “Even if you were not counted on the first night of the census, relax, you will still be counted because we will visit all houses.”

The first night of the exercise left thousands of Kenyans confused as many of them did not see census officials and assumed they had been missed out.

But Kilele insisted the count would continue as scheduled, and enumerators will visit all houses.

“There is no way we can miss counting anybody because we have cartographic maps showing locations of all houses, which our people will visit,” he said.

Kilele said that those people, who will not have been counted by Friday 10pm, should report to chiefs before Monday 10pm, when the census officially closes.

The KNBS boss also revealed counting in Bomachoge and Shinyalu constituencies would be completed before the parliamentary by-elections tomorrow.

Remains confidential

During an interview with KTN yesterday, Internal Security PS Francis Kimemia and Kilele estimated over 97 per cent of the targeted population would have been captured by this morning.

Kilele said preliminary returns remain confidential, but added, “In this kind of exercise we expect to cover 97-98 per cent of the population.”

He also said the bureau will get a clearer picture of the numbers this morning, pending a tabulation of provisional statistics in December.

He told journalists that contrary to a pre-census crusade by some activists, Kenyans willingly highlighting their ethnic affiliations. “Kenyans are answering that question very well,” said Kilele.

But a few incidents were reported in parts of Nairobi, Rift Valley and Central provinces where sections of the population refused to co-operate with enumerators owing to security fears and local disputes.

Nairobi experienced the quietest night as the exercise kicked off on Monday, with no major crime.

Authorities reported no major incidents between 6pm and 10pm on Monday.

Nairobi PC Njoroge Ndirangu said the exercise went on smoothly, apart from a few places where some residents refused to open doors to enumerators.

In Central Province about 30 suspected Mungiki members were arrested hours before the census started.

Central PC Kiplimo Rugut yesterday said the suspects were arrested by police who were beefing up security as the head count started.

In Kisumu town residents interviewed expressed disappointment over failure by the enumerators to count them on Monday night, despite the fact that they returned to their houses by 6 pm.

And a border dispute between Coast and Eastern provinces disrupted census in Mtito Andei division.

Kibwezi MP Philip Kaloki stormed Serena Kilaguni Lodge on Monday evening, hours before the census began and demanded that census officials he had accompanied carry out the exercise.

District dispute

The Standard has learnt the star-rated lodge operated by TPS Serena Group pays annual cess to Taita Taveta County Council in Coast Province. Taita and Kibwezi districts are embroiled in a boundary dispute.

The exercise was also delayed in some parts of the country due to heavy rains.

Things went on smoothly on disputed Migingo island on Lake Victoria, in spite of non-co-operation by Ugandans and other foreigners, according to Kimemia who declared yesterday that the successful count there “shows that [the island] is Kenyan territory.”

The PS said: “Some non-Kenyans refused to open up”.

Besides the count on Migingo island Kimemia and Kilele reported success in Pokot North District where pastoralists returning from Uganda overwhelmed enumerators.

“The response has been fantastic. We hope they will continue coming,” said the PS, referring to pastoralists returning from Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia.

Kimemia said homeless people in Nairobi and other urban areas were covered on Monday night, when most bars and restaurants closed early for the count.

Reports from Kapenguria indicated villagers at Aramaket refused to co-operate with enumerators, claiming they were not from the area.

About 17,000 IDPs at Mawingu in Ol Kalau turned away officials in the first hours of the count alleging the Ministry of Planning had failed to employ 20 enumerators from the camp, as earlier agreed.

Counting was halted in Nairobis Parklands and Westlands estates where residents failed to admit officials into their compounds on security grounds.

Government officials promised to hire Asian youth as enumerators and ensure they visit homes accompanied by police.

The Standard

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