MANY PASTORALISTS UNCOUNTED

Turkana leaders dispute census results as too low

Say census should have been extended more enumerators hired

In Summary
  • MP Nakuleu said the resultsare ironic and cannot be supported by empirical evidence.
  • 2019 Census placed populaton at 926,976; 2009 Census placed it at 855,399. Three subcounties lost population in latest count. 
Turkana Governor Jophat Nanok (left) MPs Jeremiah Lomurkai (C) and Christopher Nakuleu addresses press at Lodwar County Headquarters
Turkana Governor Jophat Nanok (left) MPs Jeremiah Lomurkai (C) and Christopher Nakuleu addresses press at Lodwar County Headquarters
Image: HESBORN ETYANG

Turkana Governor Josphat Nanok and other leaders on Thursday rejected the 2019 Census results as too low.

They said correct measures were not taken to get an accurate count in the vast county of pastoralists, such as extending the counting period and increasing the number of enumerators. Many pastoralists had migrated, they said.

The 2019 Census placed the Turkana population at 926,976.

The 2009 Census placed the population at 855,399

The leaders included MPs Christopher Nakuleu (Turkana North) and Jeremiah Lomurkai (Loima).

The governor deplored the reduction in the population of three subcounties, Turkana North, Turkana West and Loima.

He addressed the press at county headquarters in Lodwar.

The population in Turkana West declined by 2.3 per cent from 245,327 reported in 2009 to 239,627 in 2019 — a reduction of 5,700 people. Turkana North's population declined by 38.6 per cent from 166,200 reported in 2009 to 101,987 in 2019 — a drop of 64,213 people, Nanok said.

The population of Loima has declined by 10 per cent from 119,932 in 2009 to 107,795 in 2019 — a reduction of 12,137.

“The majority of locals in Turkana were not enumerated because KNBS recruited too few personnel for the vast county," Nanok said.

KNBS ignored calls to extend the census period to accommodate the pastoralists who had moved in search of water and pasture, he said, especially in Turkana North, Loima and Kibish where the population "drastically dropped". 

Turkana leaders want KNBS to disclose the county's land area, boundaries used for the count and formula used for data analysis and "smoothening".

Nanok wants the KNBS to explain the reduction, despite the fertility rate and average household size of 5.9 and 5.6 , respectively.

“Population figures are critical in revenue sharing and we expect that KNBS will address these concerns that raise questions about the credibility of the census," the governor said.

He requested detailed methodology on the count, storage, data analysis and storage. and reporting.

Nanok said if their grievances are not addressed, the people wlll seek justice and "say no to marginalisation again."

MP Nakuleu said the released results "are so ironic" and cannot be supported by empirical evidence.

“The released results [represent] a fallacy and conspiracy against the people of Turkana North [to prevent it from] enjoying integrity," Nakuleu said.

Turkana North subcounty covers 21,000 square kilometres and census enumerators were poorly facilitated to cover all regions in the time given, he said.

Nakuleu deplored that local leaders were barred from accessing information about the census. He claimed the county statistics officer called content supervisors to resend the collected data as the previous data was lost and they didn’t not retrieve all captured data.

It was not immediately possible to verify this assertion.

MP Lomurkai decried more than 49,000 people who migrated to Uganda in search of water and pasture were not counted and said appeals for a time extension were futile.

(Edited by V. Graham)

Turkana Governor Jophat Nanok (left) MPs Jeremiah Lomurkai (C) and Christopher Nakuleu addresses press at Lodwar County Headquarters
Turkana Governor Jophat Nanok (left) MPs Jeremiah Lomurkai (C) and Christopher Nakuleu addresses press at Lodwar County Headquarters
Image: HESBORN ETYANG