CONFLICT OVER FIGURES

Stop public battles with government over census, elders say

They reject the figures too but advice leaders to seek dialogue on the issue

In Summary
  • Say majority of voters from the region elected Uhuru and other Jubilee politicians
  • But they concur that the census results do not reflect the region's true population
Kenya livestock Marketing Council chair Dubat Amey speaks to the press in Garissa on Thursday, November 14
CALL: Kenya livestock Marketing Council chair Dubat Amey speaks to the press in Garissa on Thursday, November 14
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Elders from Garissa county have urged leaders from Northeastern region to stop public confrontations with the government over the 2019 census results.

Led by the Kenya Livestock Marketing Council chair Dubat Amey, the elders said the majority of voters from the region elected President Uhuru Kenyatta together with senior politicians who vied on a Jubilee ticket. They have a major stake in government and should desist from public confrontations.

 

A cross section of leaders from the region have vehemently opposed the figures, saying they were not a true reflection of the number of people on the ground. They allege the figures were fabricated.

The latest to express his reservation is Lagdera MP Mohamed Hire who on Tuesday alleged a systematic scheme by the government to continue marginalising Northeastern.

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

But addressing the press in Garissa town on Thursday, Amey who read a statement on behalf of his colleagues said although he did not agree with the census figures released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, he advocated for dialogue with the relevant government agencies.

“Although we don’t agree with the figures released by KNBS, as leaders we should be careful what we tell the general public,” Amey said.

"You [leaders] are right and you have all the right to challenge the census but please let us avoid utterances that will create animosity between us and the government,” he said.

Last week, Garissa Governor Ali Korane led leaders in rejecting the census results for Northastern during a visit by Interior Ministry Chief Administrative Secretary Patrick Ole Ntutu.

Korane threatened to lead the residents in mass demonstrations to pressure the government to reconsider the results, adding that if the demos failed the residents might resort to civil disobedience that would include not participating in the 2022 General Election.

Lagdera MP Mohamed Hire said KNBS committed a criminal act by releasing doctored results.

Responding, Ole Ntutu told the leaders from Northern Kenya to stop inciting their people over the census figures they were disputing.

Amey said the census did not reflect the true population of Northeastern because it was conducted during the drought season when most of the pastoralists had crossed over to neighbouring Ethiopia and Somali in search of pasture and water for their animals.

Kenya Livestock Marketing Council vice secretary Mohamud Maalim said there were many other options including the courts that the leaders should exploit.

Maalim also said he did not agree with the KNBS results.