2019 census

Purpose of census should be success not exclusion

In Summary

• The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics is engaged in a national census campaign that it conducts every 10 years for purposes of measuring her human growth and collecting national figures.

• While I wish the census success, no person or media house should be excluded from it except on very valid and legal grounds. 

The 2009 census report that was launched at the KICC in Nairobi. /FILE
The 2009 census report that was launched at the KICC in Nairobi. /FILE

I don’t remember when I have been eager to complain to or about authorities or take anyone to court for redress.

Instead of complaining or going to court, I always prefer to get my rights and justice, without having to fight for them. Unfortunately, if we don’t resist oppression, we condone it, which fuels further oppression.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics is engaged in a national census campaign that it conducts every 10 years for purposes of measuring her human growth and collecting national figures by which government will distribute resources and organise political representation. 

However, like in many other national exercises, for example, elections, people make mistakes that are driven by personal or group interests to drive persons who are employed to achieve intended national purposes to use money availed to them, not to achieve intended purposes but enrich themselves. This is why instead of elections satisfying voters, they have made people angrier because of rigging. 

It is well known that to achieve ends of national projects like census, organisations and media houses are invited to apply to help implement intended projects to success. Unfortunately, like in the census, there are many who are hired there not for its success but to make money, even at the expense of the project. 

To give an example of this dichotomy between the desire for national success and pursuit of individual ruthless greed — many times championed by media agencies and NGOs that sound genuine but are fake — let me use the example of a media house that applied in good time to work with census but ended up being disqualified, not for lack of capacity to work but maybe fear of integrity. Or because space had to be created for another media house.

The media house that was victimized was Sauti ya Mwananchi Radio and Television that had just been voted as number one radio in Central Rift by Communications Authority of Kenya. Because of bias or corruption, an able radio station has been disqualified from a national exercise that could have bettered the census campaign with its able contribution.

To participate in the census, Sauti Radio had applied way back in June to be included in the national campaign. Subsequently, Zachary Mwangi who is the director general of Kenya National Bureau of Statistics had referred Sauti Radio to Lawrence Gikaru of Apex Communications Ltd, who asked for detailed information about Sauti ya Mwananchi Radio, with an assurance that it had been included in the census campaign.

Sauti ya Mwananchi was even asked by agents of Apex Communications Ltd to prepare media orders for the campaign carrying detailed budgets that were made after consultation with its agents, whom KNBS had hired for the census media campaign.

Despite sending the required media orders to Apex Communications Ltd, Gikaru and  Mwangi reneged on their promises and contracts which are quite clear from their communications with officials of Sauti ya Mwananchi Radio and Television.

The said gentlemen would even claim that a letter from GAA was their authorisation to terminate the promise and contract between KNBS and Sauti Radio. However, truth is that the letter from GAA had not authorised termination of the contract with Sauti ya Mwananchi Radio.

Should Mwangi and Gikaru fail to restore Sauti ya Mwananchi Radio back into the census campaign, Sauti ya Mwananchi will have no choice but to grudgingly sue individuals that are responsible for breach of contract and citizens’ rights.

While I wish the census success, no person or media house should be excluded from it except on very valid and legal grounds.