KNBS should come out clean about census jobs recruitment details

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Director General Zachary Mwangi
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Director General Zachary Mwangi

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the statutory body, charged to undertake the 2019 Kenya population and housing census at a news briefing told Kenyans that preparations for the activity set for August 24th and 25th are proceeding as planned.

KNBS stated that approximately 170,000 enumerators and supervisors were being recruited and the recruitment was to be completed by 12th July 2019.

The voices, complaints, outcries that West Media has captured in the Counties of the former Western Province of Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga and neighbouring Trans Nzoia County focus on the issue that the recruitment exercise was not transparent and accountable. That those who are already employed as public servants, drawing salaries were being favoured, recruited at the expense of the thousands of highly qualified and educated youth.

To dispel the voices of protest from the youth about corruption, unfairness, inequality and a lack of transparency let the KNBS open a portal, a digital platform where they post the names of those recruited with their ages, qualifications and a statement of whether they are employed presently or not so that the youth can then scrutinize that portal County per County, sub-county per sub county to verify who has been recruited and whether they gave accurate information on their status of employment or unemployment.

It will be a crime against youth empowerment for persons already working to snatch from them an opportunity to make some money for temporary jobs of enumerators and supervisors of the census activity.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics is obligated under Article 10 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 on the national values and principles of governance of social justice, equity, protection of the marginalized (the youth), good governance, integrity, transparency and accountability to demonstrate that the recruitment process of the enumerators and supervisors heavily favours the youth who are unemployed and have qualifications to undertake the census exercise.

Civil society and conscientious citizens and more so the youth should move to the Court if the KNBS does not render a proper account of how it recruited enumerators and supervisors.

It’s high time elected leaders also stepped in using the National Assembly to compel KNBS to render an account of how they have recruited enumerators and supervisors so that youth murmurings, protests are assuaged. If there was corruption in the exercise let DCI and the DPP prosecute the purveyors of the corruption, nepotism or cronyism.

The youth in Kenya are also Kenyans and they must be protected and their interests advanced, promoted whenever the nation at the national and County level executes government programmes. It is not enough just to talk about youth empowerment, action must speak louder than words and the census recruitment is a test of whether as a nation we are hypocrites when we preach about youth empowerment.