UPROAR

Office of the President doctored census data, says MP

Hire claims there is a systematic scheme by the national government to continue marginalising their region.

In Summary

• MP says figures were altered to reward counties that have traditionally benefitted from national coffers at the expense of others.

• In Garissa, the results showed that Balambala has the least population at 32,252, followed by Lagdera at 50,315.

Lagdera MP Mohamed Hire in Modogashe town yesterday.
CENSUS UPROAR: Lagdera MP Mohamed Hire in Modogashe town yesterday.
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Lagdera MP Mohamed Hire has alleged a systematic scheme by the government to continue marginalising the Northeastern region.

He said the census results were doctored to reward areas that have traditionally benefitted from the national coffers at the expense of others.

“Most of the leaders from the region were on the ground during the census exercise and have an idea of the numbers that were enumerated. We are certain that the Office of the President was involved in doctoring the final results,” he said.

His sentiments followed widespread criticism of the census data after politicians from different parts of the country read mischief in the low numbers from their regions.

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics director Zachary Mwangi had defended the figures and welcomed complaints so they could give a detailed explanation to those feeling aggrieved. The KNBS presided over the census. Hire maintained that the numbers from Northeastern were reduced. Ladgera constituency is one of those with low population.

But Hire dismissed the figures, saying the real numbers captured by the enumerators were not presented. He spoke in Modogashe town.

"The population of Lagdera was 96,352 in 2009. How it dropped to 50,000 in 2019 is a mystery. How can we have an equal number of men and women in the constituency, yet fertility rate, according to the previous demographic surveys, should not have reduced? All these are fundamental questions that beg for answers," he said. 

The data showed that the three Northeastern counties have a combined population of 2,490,073, compared to 2.3 million people in 2009. Garissa and Wajir have 841,353 and 781,263 respectively, while Mandera has 867 457. 

In Garissa, the results showed that Balambala has the least population at 32,252, followed by Lagdera at 50,315. Dadaab has the highest number after recording 185,252, followed by Garissa Township at 163,914.

“The KNBS has done a criminal act to our people and, as leaders, we will make sure we go the full hog in pursuit of justice because, as we all know, numbers mean everything. Reduced figures will mean little share from the consolidated fund,” Hire said.

“I want somebody to explain to me like a small child how a population that was close to 100,000 10 years ago all of a sudden reduced to 30,000. Does it mean that all these people died or migrated to other places? It doesn’t make sense at all.”

Mandera Governor Ali Roba also rejected the results. “The numbers as released are just but fabricated numbers to fit the predetermined outcome that is aimed at favouring those that believed marginalised areas are undeserving and have been very loud in agitating for resource denial for northern Kenya,” he said yesterday in a statement to media houses.

On Saturday, hundreds of residents of Modogashe held peaceful demonstrations against the figures. They accused the government of “continued discrimination and marginalisation”.

In 2009, Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya nullified the figures for Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and parts of Turkana, citing inconsistencies in the birth and death rates. He further said the figures were not adding up.

(Edited by F'Orieny)