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No repeat census for North Eastern, Turkana

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 00:00 -- BY SAM KIPLAGAT

The High Court yesterday quashed Planning minister Wycliffe Oparanya move to cancel 2009 census results for North Eastern province and Turkana. In a judgment delivered yesterday, Justice Mohammed Warsame said Oparanya acted beyond his powers when he purported to cancel the results of eight districts due to alleged inconsistencies and unexpected high numbers.

The minister had said there would be a repeat of the census in Lagdera, Mandera (East, Central and West), Wajir East, Turkana Central, South and North. But the residents moved to court accusing Oparanya of acting illegally. Warsame agreed with them saying that for a pastoralist to engage in litigation, their rights must have been violated. He said the minister exceeded his powers, committed an error in law and a breach of rule of natural justice.

Oparanya cancelled the results saying that the rate of increase was higher than the population dynamics and the birth and death rates cannot support the figures arrived at. The minister said the age and sex profiles also deviated from the norm since the number of men was higher than that of women by three times.

But the judge said that there was no evidence to show that the residents colluded to tilt the results and it was upon the Ministry to carry out the census according to the law. He said if there were anomalies in the results, the concerned people should be punished but not the entire populace of NEP. “To allow the ministry to cancel the results will be tantamount to allow it to benefit from its own omissions. The ministry cannot be allowed to blow hot and cold at the same time and the residents cannot be made to suffer a fault not of their own making,” said the Judge.

The Judge added that the minister acted in excess of his powers by canceling the census results of the eight districts and that he “had crossed the boundary and he must be shown the red card”. Justice Warsame gave all the orders sought by the residents including quashing the Minister’s directive, stopping him from calling a repeat census and compelling the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics to use the and publish the 2009 results, which would be used in the delimitation of boundaries.