Census time pushed by an hour in 11 populous townships

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019 00:00 |
Evon Wairimu (right) takes down details of Mercy Gathiga at her home in Ngangarithi area of Nyeri town, yesterday. Photo/PD/JOSEPH KING’ORI

The government has acknowledged the slow pace of census even as it called for patience, saying everyone will be counted by August 31.

Interior Principal Secretary Karanja Kibicho yesterday extended enumeration hours and assured those who have not been covered that there is still time.

As the exercise entered day three, Kenyans called on the government to have the process expedited failure to which many people might be left out.

To recover lost time, Kibicho said the inter-ministerial committee has agreed to extend working hours, especially in 11 urban areas where the population is concentrated from 6am to 10pm.

The urban areas include Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu, Kakamega, Nyeri, Kiambu, Thika, Kisii and Machakos. In all other areas, enumeration will run from 6am to 9pm.

“Most of the questions we are receiving is when the enumerators will arrive in our households. We acknowledge there has been improved pace compared to Day One but we are not yet there. We will put every effort to ensure our staff are faster than they have been,” Kibicho said from Government Media Centre.

Adding: “We know a lot of Kenyans who have not been visited think the exercise is taking too long as is the case all the time when handling new gadgets, you pick pace with time and we have seen enumerators have continually picked up speed.”

He also said the over 10,000 special enumerators who were covering areas like prisons and police camps have been called in to provide backup.

The PS said each enumerator is expected to have reached out to 100 households by the end of the exercise, which translates to about 14 per day.

He regretted that some Kenyans have been obstructing enumeration saying that as long as enumerators are positively identified, it is against the law for anyone to try and bar them from doing their work.

Arraigned for obstruction

Kibicho said at least 35 cases have been reported, some already in court.

He said some officers, including chiefs and their assistants and staff from Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), who have been hampering the smooth flow of the process have been arrested and will face the full force of the law.

The PS cautioned against giving inaccurate data, saying there are fool-proof methods of establishing instances of manipulation.

“For the remaining time, do not waste time trying to create things that do not exist because we will know them, we have three months to identify them,” he said.

At the same time, he said monies towards paying enumerators has been budgeted for and the process of wiring it to the respective accounts.

The money will be sent in two tranches when the work is ongoing and after they have completed the entire exercise and it is confirmed they have done the work.

Data bundles have also been pre-loaded on the SIM cards.

He lauded businesses for heeding the directive to close bars from 5.00pm, saying they can now resume their official hours.

Directive ends 

“For the last few days we know we have inconvenienced a lot of businesses we had directed all bars to close at 5pm and we are happy they heeded to our calls. Today (Monday) you can open at 5pm and drink responsibly and ensure that you are counted,” he said.

Meanwhile, five village elders in Tana Tiver County have been apprehended for allegedly inciting residents against the census.

Police arrested the elders in Tana Delta Sunday evening after they were reported to have encouraged villagers to chase away census enumerators.

Mohammed Buya Mar, 58, Hamisi Bohola Makangi, 60, Saidi Komora Dhadho, 68, Omar Omara Dhadho, 63, and Mohammed Bakari Komora Buya aged 70 from Munguveni village in Mnazini Sub-Location were said to have orchestrated the plan according to police.

Tana River County Police Commander Fredrick Ochieng said the elders resisted the exercise on claims that local youth were overlooked during enumerators hiring.

“We tried to reason with them from the chief’s level and even the deputy county commissioner had a discussion with them but they insisted that they will not allow the exercise until they have some of their own as enumerators,” he said.

The elders were arrested and locked up at the Garsen Police Station as enumerators were accompanied by the police to the village to carry on with the census.

Ochieng has appealed to residents not to obstruct any census officials who will be accompanied by security officers bearing identification documents.

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