The census 101 and the dilemma of Kenyans going to their home Counties to be counted

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

The government will on the night of 24th and 25thAugust, 2019 conduct the National Census that will be the 8thcensus since 1948. Over 147,000 personnel will be deployed to undertake the exercise ranging from ICT supervisors, content supervisors and enumerators and add there security personnel to give security to those officials.

A census is the process of counting all people in the country. It entails collecting,compiling, evaluating, analyzing and publishing demographic, social and economic data concerning all persons who will be in Kenya on the census date.

The Census data that will be asked from the population will include sex, age, religion, marital status, ethnicity/nationality and migration status, fertility levels of females aged 12 years and above, information regarding persons with disability, education, attainment, labour force particulars, information regarding ICT, agriculture, household conditions and amenities.

This year’s census is the first electronic census for Kenya as all the information, data will be captured through tablet computers the way the Huduma Number Registration was undertaken.

The national census is the primary source of reliable data on the size, distribution and composition of the population in a country at a given time it is undertaken. The data properly collated and analyzed gives an accurate picture of how many people are living in the country, the county, the sub-county and other administrative level and their living conditions as well as access to basic services and to inform how the country will plan to improve the peoples living conditions and circumstances.

In Kenya, truth be told the national census will determine how much of the national resources will be allocated to a county to a Sub-county, to award. equally, this census will indicate how political power will be fought for in 2022 as it will show how many potential voters are in each county and not to be stated openly but which is a reality how many people the tribes of Kenya have. The politics of Kenya are traded in the currency of tribe and therefore the census will give pointers as to the strength of the key tribes come 2022 elections and more so the coveted presidential ticket.

The challenge is that Counties of the former western province of Kakamega, Bungoma, Busia, Vihiga and neighbouring Trans Nzoia have a huge segments of their population living and working in other counties especially the big cities like Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru, Eldoret, Kisumu. How then do they get a chunk of their sons and daughters out there to return and be counted in their homeland, ancestral counties so that they enhance the share of the national resources that will cascade to their home counties.

It is the business of the elected leaders more so Governors, MPs and MCAs to lobby their residents who work out of their Counties to return for the census. In this age of technology any organized County can harness its population numbers and come out of the census with the right numbers. Most of these residents who work out of their Counties after all keep homes and part of their families in their home Counties and utilize infrastructure of those Counties.

The national census is a highly political activity and it behooves us to be fully prepared for it and to understand the power it generates in the politics and economics of our Counties and the nation at large.