Sect members arrested for frustrating enumerators

Thursday, August 29th, 2019 00:00 |
Kabonokia sect
Forty-six Kabonokia sect members have jailed in Tharaka Nithi for refusing to be counted in the 2019 census. PHOTO | NDEGWA GATHUNGU | PEOPLE DAILY
Forty-six Kabonokia sect members have jailed in Tharaka Nithi for refusing to be counted in the 2019 census. PHOTO | NDEGWA G

Enumerators in the on-going national population census ran into trouble in three incidents involving members of religious sects.

Drama unfolded in Naivasha when an  Akorino cleric and his wife were arrested  for blocking census enumerators from counting them.

They were whisked to Naivasha Police Station awaiting court charges following the incident at Gatamaiyu village, in the outskirts of the town.

At one time, family members locked themselves into their house and defied orders from police officers to cooperate before local elders intervened during the Wednesday morning incident.

While quoting sections of the Bible, the couple, identified as Akhi Shilton and Akol Emmah, said they would only be counted in heaven and not on earth.

The cleric told the enumerators and security officers that they would be cursed for going against the scriptures which he alleged bar any kind of census.

“The book of Chronicles bars us from being counted and we shall not defy God’s name to please the government or members of the public,” said Shilton.

A local elder only identified as Moses said this was not the first time the family was involved in dispute adding that in the past, they had refused to get immunisation for their children.

“In various cases, police have intervened so that their children could be immunised and we were not surprised when he blocked the census officers,” he said.

Earlier, an enumerator was attacked and injured by a dog in Kabati Estate as the exercise entered its fifth day.

The female enumerator, who was accompanied by a village elder, had entered a home when the dog pounced on her.

A witness, Samson Kiarie, said the woman who suffered bites on her hand, was  rushed to Naivasha Sub-County Hospital where she was treated and discharged.

“The dog had not been leashed and the enumerator unknowingly opened only for it to pounce on her,” he said.

Naivasha OCPD Samuel Waweru confirmed both incidents adding that the couple would be charged with failing to give information to authorised persons.

“The couple has since refused to cooperate and they will be charged in court while the female enumerator attacked by a dog in  a nearby village is in stable condition and back to work,” he said.

Refuse to take part

In Kitui, police arrested two people who allegedly refused to cooperate with the  enumerators conducting the ongoing national census.

The two were among three residents who told census officials that they did not wish to participate in the exercise since, “we’ve been counted in the Bible.”

The third person later agreed to cooperate with the census officials.

The same was replicated in Malindi sub county where some members of the Good News International Ministries declined  to take part in the  exercise.

Deputy County Commissioner Karung’o  Kamau said a few members of the  religious organisation had said it was against their faith to be enumerated.

He, however, said their leader, Paul Makenzi, had been pre-enumerated and wondered why his followers were refusing to take part in the nation-wide exercise.

“Only a few of the members of Good News International have refused to participate and we shall take action against them,” he said adding: “It is ironical that pastor Makenzi, whose teachings they claim to be following, has already been enumerated,” he told journalists in Malindi town yesterday.

Members cautioned

Kamau cautioned sect members against turning away enumerators, saying they would be dealt with in accordance with the law.

Meanwhile, police in Serem area, in Vihiga, are holding a man for allegedly hiding to avoid the KNBS officials.

County Commissioner Susan Waweru said the suspect, Elias Asige, was arrested on Tuesday afternoon at Itumbi village.

“The culprit had climbed on a tree where he had sought refuge as he attempted to hide from enumerators,” said Waweru.She said the suspect was a member of a local sect group. – Reporting by Kirera Mwiti, Githinji Mwangi, Charles Muasya and KNA

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