National census: Matiang’i orders bars closed on census night

Thursday, August 22nd, 2019 00:00 |
National Census. Photo/Courtesy

Brian Musyoka, Yusuf Masibo, Githinji Mwangi and Eric Wainana

Interior Cabinet secretary Fred Matiang’i yesterday ordered all bars and entertainment places remain closed from Saturday 5pm to Sunday to allow ample time for the national census. 

The government has marshalled all resources—personnel and financial—to ensure the success of the first ever digital enumeration of persons. 

The exercise is expected to kick off on August 24 and end on August 31 countrywide.

Speaking in Embu Stadium yesterday where he officially launched the Water Companies Sports Organisation Games, Matiang’i said bars would be closed on Saturday at 5pm and Sunday. He assured the public that security, both for residents  and the enumerators, would be beefed up.

“All security officers who have been on leave have been recalled to their work stations. The enumerators will be accompanied by village elders and one police officer will provide them with security,” he said. 

This came as Opposition leaders Moses Musalia Mudavadi  and Moses Wetang’ula urged the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics to ensure the results were credible.

In a joint press conference, they warned that the figures should not be interfered with, claiming that alleged doctoring of population numbers has been undermining equity in representation and distribution of revenue. 

“In the 2009 census, the results were doctored in some parts of the country and this undermined the division of public resources to Kenyans. We don’t want a repeat of that. We want honest and accurate figures,” said Mudavadi.

Security officers will be on high alert to deal with situations that may compromise security. The enumerators will don reflector jackets and badges for easy identification and will be accompanied by police and at least one village elder.

The directive from Matiang’i is to ensure people are found at their residences and reduce cases of intoxication that may affect ability to give accurate information. 

The CS also directed all local and international organisations that had expressed interest to act as census monitors to acquire monitor cards from the county commissioners of the regions they will be in.

Matiang’i further clarified that Monday August 26 will not be a public holiday. 

“The census will take place at night and will not affect the work of Kenyans. Let us try to limit our fun times and work. There will be no holiday,” he said. 

This year’s will be the eighth census in the country and Kenyans have been encouraged to be indoors on that day to ensure correct data is collected and at the same time to ensure everyone participates.

Sh100,000 fine

The minister also clarified that the Huduma Namba sought to get registration details of Kenyans so as to create a synchronised database to enable Kenyans have only one card instead of carrying multiple cards for various government services but the census was purely to establish the population for proper planning.

The government has warned those who may plan to bar or interfere with enumerators or give false information that they risked a fine of Sh100,000.

At the same time, Eastern Regional Commissioner Isaiah Nakoru said all arrangements for security are in place. 

Meanwhile, Kenyans have been assured that the information collected by KNBS officials would be confidential.

“The census information will be held in strict confidence by KNBS and will be used for statistical purposes only. All census officials will swear an oath of secrecy as required by law. Individual’s particulars will not be made public,” said KNBS through a tweet.

Inspector General of Police Hillary Mutyambai assured Kenyans that officers would conduct patrols across the country to ensure citizens are safe and criminals do not take advantage of the exercise to raid homes.

In Nyeri, the Census Committee chaired by County Commissioner David Kipkemei has banned the night vigils commonly referred to as keshas. “Missing a tipple for one day won’t kill anyone,” he said.

Bungoma Governor Wycliffe  Wangamati also issued a similar directive, saying those who felt they had to drink could carry beer and drink from home.

Those who will not be home for census will be free to be counted wherever they will be, he said.

Separately, Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi urged Kenyans to ensure they participate in the exercise. He appealed to KNBS to ensure accuracy, claiming the 2009 figures were skewed in favour of some regions.

 He argued that credible census would enable the Commission of Revenue Allocation to come up with a fair revenue sharing formula since population remains the main parameter in computation.

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