Mt Kenya leaders threaten to go to court to stop the upcoming census

Though the agency charged with carrying out population census may have made it clear that it has dropped plans to use the biometric system during the August national population census, Mt Kenya leaders insist the technology must be used while their northern Kenya counterparts want the manual system to remain.

Mt Kenya politicians have now said they will go to court to stop the upcoming census as the rift with their northern counterparts over use of biometrics widens.

The Central Kenya leaders say if Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) insists on using manual system, they would mobilise locals in their areas to boycott the exercise.


At the centre of their claim is that after the controversy over the 2009 census statistics from northern Kenya, the minority are getting what they do not deserve in terms of electoral boundaries and revenue allocation among counties, and thereby oppressing the majority.

The solution to the problem, they say, can only be found if KNBS uses technology to count people.

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“Use of biometric kits is the only credible and transparent way of counting people to ensure there is fairness in resource allocation. The 2009 census was fraudulent, skewed and regions where we know there are no numbers came up with figures that cannot be justified,” Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua says.

Mr Gachagua says if the government fails to use the biometric kits and resolves that the census will be conducted manually, he would mobilise residents to boycott.

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Reports that some leaders are inciting locals, especially in Central Kenya, to boycott the census have been rife.

Whether they can actually do it is another question altogether.

KNBS this month announced that it was dropping plans to use technology to enumerate people.

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“It will be impossible for us to use the biometric system to conduct the census because of various issues, key among them capturing data of children aged five years and below, who will not have developed reliable biometric features,” the bureau’s director of population, Mr Macdonald Obudho, says.

In their plans, technology will only come in at the point of transmission of census results by the enumerators, with less emphasis on manual backup, a point which concerns frontier counties given that access to mobile and internet network is a challenge in the region, executive director of the Frontier Counties Development Council (FCDC) Mohammed Guleid says.

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