By ADOW JUBAT
Leaders from North Eastern Province have vowed to resist attempts to recount people in the area in a mini-census expected to be carried out by the Ministry of Planning.
This comes after the Government disputed figures obtained in the region during the 2009 national census. In a warning to the Ministry of Planning, which announced a recount of the people in eight districts mainly in NEP, the leaders told the ministry officials to keep off the province.
Led by Energy Assistant Minister Maalim Mohamed, the leaders described the recount exercise a mockery of the people in the region at a time when majority of residents are starving to death.
"As leaders serving in the Government, we are shocked that some fellows are provoking our people by talking about a mini census, which is to cost Sh400 million yet people are facing death due to absence of water and food," said the minister. The planning ministry had indicated that a mini census will be conducted soon in eight districts in the province.
The assistant minister, who is on a drought assessment tour in his hardest hit Mandera West Constituency, said in Takaba town they will not allow the recount.
"The exercise is discriminative and illegal aimed at portraying Somali as second class citizen and a dishonest community," said Mohamed.
"Our people diligently took part in the national census in August 2009 along with other Kenyans and they are not ready to take part in a selective recount," he added.
He said the Sh400 million intended to be used on the recount should be channelled to water projects and provision of relief food to over 600,000 starving pastoralists in the area.
Councillor Abdiwahid Hussein of Shirshir ward in Mandera East District said some politicians in the Government are uneasy following a tremendous surge in the Somali population in the last ten years.