Politicians must stay out of 2019 census

Mandera Governor Ali Roba during a press conference at the Serena hotel on January 2nd, 2019./ VICTOR IMBOTO
Mandera Governor Ali Roba during a press conference at the Serena hotel on January 2nd, 2019./ VICTOR IMBOTO

The next population census in Kenya will be conducted in August.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics will spend Sh18.5 billion to record details of every single person in Kenya in that week.

In November, Mt Kenya leaders demanded a bigger share of national resources and on Thursday northeastern governors said they would not tolerate interference with the census.

The census is a hot issue because it determines how many people there are in an area and this influences the allocation of budget resources.

The 2009 census initially found that there were 38.6 million people in Kenya but this was adjusted to 37.7 million people by reducing the numbers in northeastern Kenya by 900,000.

This was a political decision, not a technocratic one. Politicians were frightened by population growth in the north-east, even though this is very plausible - women there have the highest fertility rate in Kenya.

It was wrong to massage the 2009 census figures. As a result government decision making was made on false pretences.

The politicians should stay out of the 2019 census. They should allow the KNBS technocrats do their job independently so that we use the true population figures for Kenya.

Quote of the day: "Stories, like food, lose their flavour if cooked in a hurry.”

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o

The Kenyan author was born on 5 January, 1938