The census exercise is likely to hit a snag in Tharaka-Nithi County if claims of immense corruption in the recruitment of enumerators will not be addressed.
Residents of various parts of county have continued to hold demonstrations threatening to boycott the very important government exercise, especially in Tharaka constituency, claiming that leaders gave the jobs to their relatives and children of the rich.
They said the corrupt discriminated against the deserving applicants from poor families.
In Turima, Marimanti, Mukothima, Magutuni, Tunyai, Kathwana and Chiakariga areas, residents and especially the youths have held demos and declared that they will not open doors to ‘strangers’ who have been allegedly given the jobs instead of the locals.
Addressing journalists during a demonstration at Kibung’a market in Tharaka constituency, youths said university graduates who had applied for ICT and Content Supervisors positions were not invited for interviews despite having met all the qualifications.
Mr Nicholas Mutegi, a university graduate said he only learnt that content supervisors had been called for interviews a day later.
“We came to learn that most of the people who met qualifications for the Content Supervisor positions were shortlisted just for formality but were never contacted for interviews only few were called using mobile phones,” said Mr Mutegi.
He said some of the people who were given the jobs come from as far as Mukothima in Tharaka-North Sub County while the others come from outside the county.
Members of County Assembly A section of Members of Tharaka-Nithi County Assembly led by Godfrey Murithi (Karingani), Ms Anita Karimi (nominated) and Mr Nyaga Muisraeli (Muthambi) have also protested that the recruitment process was marred with corruption and that the exercise was likely to be compromised if the discontentment’s were not addressed.
Ms Musraeli said it may be impossible for the locals to trust strangers with such critical information. “There is a lot of public outcry on the recruitment and I urge the county commissioner to order investigations before the exercise is boycotted,” said Mr Muisraeli during a meeting in Chuka town.
Responding to the allegations, Tharaka-Nithi County Commissioner Ms Beverly Opwora dismissed the claims maintaining that the recruitment exercise was transparent and asked locals to cooperate.
She said in some areas, the applicants did not meet the required qualification as per the advertisement while the rest failed in either written or oral interview especially those seeking ICT positions forcing the recruitment team to outsource but within the county.
“The corruption claims are not true because I personally followed up the recruitment exercise and I urge people to cooperate and be counted,” said Ms Opwora.
She said each enumerator will be accompanied by a security officer and a village elder to assure security and make sure that each and every homestead is entered and people counted.
“People will be counted by the officers they know and I am sure that government will achieve its target,” she said.
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