•Many residents fled their homes long before the census exercise due to banditry attacks
•Rift Valley regional coordinator George Natembeya says all residents will captured in areas where they live and there were no incidents reported during the census exercise
Enumerators found more than 400 deserted homes in parts of the banditry-prone Kerio Valley on the first day of the census.
However, the exercise went on smoothly despite fears of bandit attacks in the region.
Some residents fled their homes due to rampant attacks in the region but the government assured that the families would still be counted in areas where they had relocated for safety.
Rift Valley Regional Coordinator George Natembeya said they had deployed security teams along borders of Elgeyo Marakwet, West Pokot, Baringo, Turkana and Samburu counties to ensure a smooth census.
“We will ensure that no one is left out of the national census exercise because of reasons like insecurity which has been a major problem in Kerio Valley,” said Natembeya.
He said the region had not recorded cases of cattle rustling attacks in the recent past, which was an indication of improving security.
Political leaders from West Pokot and Elgeyo Marakwet recently signed a fresh peace deal that was witnessed by Deputy President William Ruto and governors from the region.
The regional commissioner said the government had mapped out high risk areas and deployed dozens of special police forces with firm instructions to deal with insecurity during the census and afterwards.
The high risk areas identified included Chesegon, which borders Elgeyo Marakwet and West Pokot counties, Tiaty in Baringo South, Kapedo and Lokori along Turkana and Pokot counties.
Other areas are Kabyego between Marakwet Sub County and West Pokot. County commissioners in the region said the census exercise is going on smoothly and that no incidents have been reported so far.
Uasin Gishu County Commissioner Abdirisack Jaldesa and coordinator of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics in the region Munene Riungu said most residents had cooperated well with census officers and that most people were to be covered by last night.
“The government provided adequate security and back up for us and so far we have had no negative incidents reported,” said Munene.
He said the government directive to have all drinking joints closed was well implemented thus boosting the success of the exercise.
Operators of the bars and entertainment joints said they fully supported the exercise despite the losses they incurred due to the closure.
In Eldoret town and other urban areas, street families were enumerated during the day mainly because of security concerns in areas where they reside at night.
Governors Jackson Mandago of Uasin Gishu, Stephen Sang (Nandi) and Alex Tolgos said they hoped all residents would be captured by the end of the exercise.
“We have asked all residents to ensure that they are not left out and those not visited by enumerators should report to chiefs so that they are covered,” said Mandago.