Ignore politicians’ selfish advice on census

Isiolo county commissioner Joseph Kanyiri on 14/08/2019, when he addressed journalist in his office concerning preparations for 2019 Census. [Bruno Mutunga]

The National Population and Housing Census scheduled for August 24 to 25, 2019 has kicked up a frenzy among politicians.

Among them is Kakamega County Governor Wycliffe Oparanya who, during the 2009 population census, was the Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 minister.

Mr Oparanya, like other governors and MPs, has urged people to go back to their home counties ahead of the census, noting that revenue allocation to the devolved units is pegged on their population.

Shoring up the numbers, therefore, means higher allocations. On face value, we cannot fault this logic because counties need adequate financing to deliver services.

SEE ALSO :Kenya’s biggest ethnic communities listed

However, there are inherent pitfalls in such calls. Adequate provision of social amenities and housing is dependent on planning based on the population.

By conservative estimates, Nairobi’s population is four million people; a majority of whom come from the other 46 counties.

Were all these people to leave Nairobi during the population census, the city’s planning will be based on lower population numbers.

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What this means is that Nairobians will continue to suffer lack of basic services, particularly provision of clean water, roads and housing, among others.

Considering that constituencies short of the constitutional population threshold set by IEBC stand to be dissolved or merged,  the concern of some politicians is more selfish than altruistic.

SEE ALSO :2019 census results: Tyranny of big tribes

While counties root for more allocations, and the population census provides them a good opportunity, many have performed dismally on accountability going by the Auditor General’s annual reports.

Indeed, a number of governors are facing graft related charges. Counties must put their houses in order first.

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CensusCounty Governor Wycliffe OparanyaVision 2030