Census results to be ready in three months, says CS Yatani

The preliminary results of the 2019 census will be released in three months.

Acting Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani (pictured) said the use of electronic gadgets to capture data has made it easier to analyse the statistics. In previous censuses, the results were released in about nine months.

The CS also warned that people who may be tempted to disrupt the process will be apprehended.

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“The security of all persons who will be visited during the census enumeration and for the personnel who will be conducting enumeration is fully guaranteed by the government,” he said.

During a press briefing yesterday, Yatani said ICT supervisors who will be overseeing the process will complete their one-week training today. The enumerators will be trained from next week.

It will be the first time Kenya will be conducting a paperless census. The details will be captured electronically using mobile devices. The census will start from the night of August 24 and is set to be concluded on August 31.

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According to Yatani, mapping done between 2016 and May 2019 established 129,123 enumeration areas with an average of 100 households.

The details to be captured in the census include sex, age, religion, marital status, ethnicity and migration status. Fertility of females from the age of 12 years and above will also be captured.

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Any female participant aged above 12 will be asked if they have children. The enumerators will also capture details on disability status, level of education, labour and how knowledgeable they are on ICT.

Other details to be captured will be agriculture, household conditions and amenities. The participants will be expected to answer all the questions detailed in the questionnaire, and the information will be immediately fed into the mobile devices. The devises come with an inbuilt quality control system that validates the information that is collected during the census.

There have been growing concerns over how silent the organisers have been on how the census will be conducted.

“Nobody would know there is a census scheduled to happen soon. Everyone is quiet,” said Oscar Chongori, a university student, in a Facebook post that attracted several comments from people who said they have not been getting regular updates from the ministry, unlike the previous censuses where several updates were made before the main event.

Sociologists say the government needs to package sensitisation messages aimed at specific communities.

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Dorice Achieng’, a Kenyan sociology student in the UK, says community beliefs such as not counting children or declaring wealth can interfere with the accuracy of the results.

“There are communities where counting people is a taboo, or those who believe declaring their wealth is bad omen. The government should ensure they are comfortable enough to talk about these issues,” said Achieng.

Yatani said sensitisation and security measures had been put in place to encourage Kenyans to participate.

The ministry said it was embarking on an intensive campaign to ensure possible obstacles are removed.

He said the government was aware of possible resistance from some members of the public who hold strong taboos against counting. but added that nothing would slow down the counting process.

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“The purpose of the sensitisation is to minimise misconception about the various pertinent concerns by the members of the public regarding census,” said Yatani.

The CS said security measures had been put in place to ensure suspected criminal elements who might be seeking to disrupt the process were apprehended.

“The census officers will be accompanied by the village elders or residents’ association leaders, known to the household members for purposes of comfort setting,” he said.

He said he had requested his Interior counterpart Fred Matiang’i to coordinate with President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare August 26 a public holiday for a smooth enumeration process.

The tablets used in the exercise were assembled by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Moi University in what Yatani calls, “buy Kenya build Kenya” initiative.

[Additional reporting by Mercy Adhiambo]

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