Kenyans make fun of Census on social media

Kenyans have taken to social media platforms to make fun of the national population census that will be conducted starting August 24, even as the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) made the last minute preparations for the exercise.

While the Government, notably the Interior Ministry through the tough-talking Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, tried to rub into Kenyans the importance of the exercise, explaining that it was the data collected from the count that will advise the Government’s planning for its resources for the next ten years, characteristic Kenyans continued to create jokes of the critical event that takes place after every ten years.

KNBS has been on the overdrive in the last few days trying to address the general apathy of the national exercise, literally pleading with Kenyans asking them to respond to the knock of the enumerators when they come calling on the households to collect their data, starting tomorrow evening.

But the plea by Matiang’i and the bureau officials has not only been on Kenyans to open the doors, but also ensure that they give factual information to the questions asked. A penalty of Sh100,000 fine or a jail term of one year has been proposed for anyone who will be convicted for giving false information to the enumerators.

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But despite the seriousness with which Matiang’i and his team wants Kenyans to take the exercise, where a Government struggling to meet its economic ends, has pumped in excess of Sh18 billion, Kenyans are irritatingly employing sarcasm in the whole exercise.

The order by Matiang’i that all social joints will be closed from 5pm to 6am for two days starting Saturday evening has elicited funny reactions from Kenyans on social media.

Football fanatics, especially the supporters of English giants Arsenal and Liverpool, are not taking the CS’s order lightly, as it will bar them from watching the duel in their favourite pubs. The clubs are meeting tomorrow for a premiership game that starts at 7.30pm, local time.

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Also affected from watching their favourite team play will be Manchester United fans, whose team will be taking on Crystal Palace starting 5pm.

Irritated fans have reacted to the orders.

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“Manchester United game is on the same day 5pm, Arsenal vs Liverpool from 7.30 pm. Matiang’i kuna vitu mbili tu. Either tutacountiwa kwa BAR amd kwa CELL… but tutakuwa kwa BAR! (Matiang’i there are two options here, we will either be counted in the bar, or in the cells, but we will be in the bar (for the games). Do you know how boring watching a game at home is? Where do you buy more drinks when your team scores?” quipped a football fan @Mwangi_Dealer on twitter, reacting to the orders.

Another football fan on twitter adds: “Mr Matiang’i, on Saturday, Liverpool will be playing Arsenal. That match is bigger than Kenyan government and the census itself … if you do not allow us to watch that game in clubs and go home by 9pm, then we won’t open the door for your people”.

Others are making fun of the question of one’s marital status, alleged to be one of the questions to be posed.

“Hii swali ya Census, “uko na bibi mwingine’ itaulizwa in front of the wife ama utaitwa kando uulizwe?”  (The question, “do you have another wife?”, will be posed to you in the presence of your wife or will you be called aside to answer it?)

Another question doing rounds in social media is “Hawa watu wa Census watapikiwa?, kuuliza tu ndio nijipange. (Will we be required to prepare meals for these census officials, just enquiring for planning purposes).

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A man referring to himself as Joel has gone ahead to give statistics of his belongings, claiming that he has posted the same at the gate to his home and thus, asking the enumerators not to bother him with any more questions.

“Nimeweka kwa gate sitaki kusumbuliwa, Kwa Joel Census, Children - 6, dog - 2, cows - 3, sheeps - 10, goats - 5, nyumba ya nyasi - 2, nyumba ya mabati - 1, choo - 1, Bafu – akuna. (I have pinned at the gate, I do not want any further disturbances Children 6, dogs 2, cows 3, sheeps 10, goats 5, grass-thatched house 2, iron-roofed house 1, latrines 1, bathroom, none).

But it is the hilarious photo of a man carrying what would appear to be the weekend’s “stock” of his favourite drink to his house that has left many captivated.

“Preparations for census are in high gear. If we cannot go to the bar, then we will bring the bar to us. Waititu’s doctrine,” states the caption of the man seen struggling to hold onto about 12 bottles of alcoholic drinks, ostensibly to beat the thirst that will be occasioned by Matiang’i’s curfew.

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KNBSCensusCensus EnumeratorsCS Fred Matiang'i