2019 HEADCOUNT

The politics of census: Why does it matter?

The political arithmetic of ethnic numbers and the scramble for a share of the national cake have triggered a census campaign frenzy hours to the national population enumeration.

In Summary

• Politicians take a census seriously as a tool for ethnic mobilisation and building a campaign war-chest

•  Heavyweights are whipping up their people to go home and get counted in the national count starting Saturday.

 

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics director general Zachary Mwangi on the national census starting Saturday.
THE BIG COUNT: Kenya National Bureau of Statistics director general Zachary Mwangi on the national census starting Saturday.
Image: FILE

The arithmetic of ethnic numbers and the scramble for a share of national resources have triggered a census campaign frenzy hours to the national population count.

They're not just numbers, far from it.

Well aware of the significance of population to power and resource allocation, politicians have heightened calls for their tribes to stand up and be counted this weekend, starting Saturday at 6pm.

Security will be strengthened nationwide.

In a fresh political move, leaders are pleading with their communities to return to their native homes to enhance their share of national revenue and demonstrate their ethnic voting power.

"If you go home and get counted, then you know that your money has gone there. But if you remain in Nairobi here and you come from Kakamega County, when you want bursary go to Nairobi, don’t come to Kakamega," Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya declared.

Key opposition leaders — ANC's leader Musalia Mudavadi, Wiper's Kalonzo Musyoka and Ford Kenya's leader Moses Wetang'ula — have rallied their people to ensure they participate.

If you go home and get counted, then you know that your money has gone there.
Kakamega governor Oparanya

“If you want good roads, good schools, proper health facilities, clean water, security and other public utilities, you must help both the present government and future governments to plan for you,” Musalia and Wetang'ula said in a joint statement.

“They can only plan for you well when they have accurate statistics. It is, therefore, very important that all Kenyans cooperate and participate in the census.”

The two have presidential ambitions and Mudavadi is among the leading candidates in 2022.

 

Kalonzo has called on Kenyans to go back to their original homeland, saying counting Kenyans from their places of birth will give a true picture of the exact number of people in a specific region.

This, he said, will make it easier and more effective for the government to plan and fairly distribute resources.

"Let everyone go back to where he or she was born and be counted from there. All the Kambas who are in Nairobi should go back to