CENSUS 2019

State must conduct credible census, let everyone be counted

Last census was marred by data manipulation and glaring errors, this one must be clean.

In Summary

• The eighth national census will help determine the fair allocation of resources to counties as well as setting boundaries and constituencies.

• We must stand up and be counted. The state must avoid the 2009 scenario and get it right if Kenya is to progress and lives are to improve.

Kenya's population after the census in 2009
ACCURACY FIRST: Kenya's population after the census in 2009
Image: Jack Owuor

Starting on Saturday at 6pm, Kenya will conduct its eighth national census of vast economic and political significance in determining fair allocation of resources to the 47 counties, as well as setting boundaries and constituencies.

It is essential everyone be counted and honestly answer all questions if they want good roads, good schools, good health facilities, clean water, security and other public utilities.

The stakes are high because some counties have been shouldering heavy population burdens but lacking sufficient revenue. Similarly, populations are small in the Northeast and elsewhere but they are underdeveloped and also exceedingly needy.

 

Census data is used to distribute share of revenue to counties, the Constituency Development Fund, the Local Authorities Trust Fund and the Equalisation Fund. Only Sh1.1 billion of the Sh12.4 billion  Equalisation Fund had been distributed by April 2018 because of deadline issues. That's development money lost.

The 2009 Census, by the government's own admission, was marred by data manipulation and glaring errors. This resulted in skewed resource allocation. Results were cancelled in eight districts.

We must avoid the 2009 scenario; too much is riding on this census. The government has to get it right if Kenya is to progress and lives are to improve.