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State postpones the release of census results

BUSINESS
By | January 7th 2010

By Stephen Makabila

The Government, for a second time, postponed the release of the much-anticipated Population and Housing Census provisional results.

The indefinite postponement yesterday came as a surprise to the public, which has been waiting since last August to know the results.

A two-page signed statement by Planning and National Development Minister Wycliffe Oparanya indicated the release of the results had been pushed ahead. An earlier release date, December 8, was also cancelled.

"This has been occasioned, in part, by the fact that the Government is currently implementing various important national activities, which require more comprehensive information than would have been released in the provisional report," read Mr Oparanya’s statement faxed to newsrooms last evening.

Comprehensive report

The Minister indicated that the census report to be released captures all necessary variables critical to the implementation of these activities.

"The Government has directed the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics to undertake further processing of the Census data and produce a comprehensive report that will include population and distribution," he said.

The population distribution, he noted, would be based on age and sex, administrative units such as province, district, divisions and locations.

Political units including the constituencies and wards, as well as the various characteristics on which information was captured such as labour, education, migration, housing conditions and household amenities will also be considered.

Oparanya said the Government was aware of figures circulating, purportedly from the Census office, which should be ignored.

"The figures are not genuine and I urge Kenyans to be patient as they await the release of the official figures," added the minister.

The census results were expected to reveal the approximate population of each of the country’s 42 tribes.

The count, which was conducted on August 24 and 25 last year will also reveal housing conditions, living standards, education standards and skills, disability status, profession and computer usage in the country.

However, there are fears revealing the population of the 42 tribes will inflame ethnic passions and hamper efforts to reconcile communities affected in post-election chaos.

Building alliances

Politicians put into use population strength of various tribes during election campaigns, and consider them major determinants in alliances.

It was also expected that results might guide creation of new constituencies by the Interim Independent Boundaries Review Commission.

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