Why the upcoming census my be flawed, MPs express fear


MPs in the Finance and Trade Committee have challenged the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics to put measures in place to ensure the national census planned for August is credible.

Legislators Samuel Atandi (Alego Usonga), Joseph Oyula (Butula) joined their Chairman Joseph Limo (Kipkelion East) in raising concerns that some areas may collude with enumerators to inflate their numbers.

“I have attended meetings with some of my colleagues who have already said they already know their numbers and that should their numbers be less they will know that the exercise will not be credible,” Atandi said.

Ayula added: I also want to express my concerns about the inflation of numbers, you need to take precautions.”

Director General Anthony Mwangi assured the House team that every step has been taken to secure the integrity of the exercise which will for the first time be conducted digitally.

“We are also going to use technology, having in-built controls and checks in the data capture system. It is very difficult for somebody to lie consistently through that questionnaire, but when you are doing the manual system it is very easy because there are no checks, you just put what you want to put of paper.”

Mwangi regretted that some of the enumerators may face a hostile environment because of politicization of the exercise.

“We need to be very clear that the census is not only for resource allocation and delineation of boundaries for constituencies. There are very many uses of a census for example in planning of a country where you need to know the distribution of population and where they are in the country, issue of urbanization, issues of education attainment.”

Limo questioned the reliability of the locally assembled digital literacy programme tablets which will be used to collect data in the exercise.

“Are you aware that there is a very serious failure on the gadgets; because you will find several schools you visit, several of them are lying idle. If we are going to use the same on the day of the census, are we likely to see them dye. Do you have a fall-back,” said the Finance Committee Chairman.

But the KBS boss explained that they are not using the same tablets supplied in primary schools but will be have customized models which will be delivered by the end of June.

Mwangi urged the National Assembly to fast track the amendment of the Statistics Act stating that the national exercise slated for August cannot be conducted under the current legislation citing insecurity and boundary disputes as among their key concerns likely to affect success of the national count.

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