Leaders want census halted in Tana River over skewed hiring

Tana River Woman Rep Rehema Hassan Wailwana tribe to be given code and not referred to others. [Courtesy]

Civil society group leaders in Tana River County have asked the National government to address alleged irregularities in recruitment of enumerators and other support official for the August population census before tconducting the the exercise.

The groups also claimed there is credible fear that people could be imported into the county to inflate or alter the local population during the exercise.

Teachers and civil servants have scrambled for census jobs amid claims by local groups that the youth have been sidelined as part of a wider conspiracy to cook figures in the census by bringing people from neighbouring counties in Tana River County.

Mikinduni MCA Mohamed Buya and human rights activist Abdimalik Marwan accused the county Bureau of Statistics officer of dismissing issues raised by leaders regarding the recruitment exercise. The leaders vowed not to let outsiders run the exercise yet they have enough jobless youth who can do it.

Mr Marwan said the whole list of applicants was marred with bias and nepotism.

“Census jobs are meant for the jobless youths such as Form Four leavers, Colleges and University students for their school upkeep," he said.

They questioned the criterion used that only awarded the jobs to the working class.

How come the local youths have been left out and only people working and those related to the recruiters are being awarded the jobs," he posed.

But efforts to get comments from county statistics officer Hussein Abdirahman were futile as his phone went unanswered.

Last week, a group of youths from Bura constituency protested in the streets accusing chiefs of being biased.

And on Wednesday, Woman Rep Rehema Hassan led leaders from the minority tribe Wailwana to seek President Uhuru Kenyatta’s intervention so that a code be created for the community.

She said some communities are still named as others yet they are known tribes with official names.

Hassan also wants the government to monitor how the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) will conduct the exercise in Tana River to avert cases of listing outsiders.

The indigenous community includes Pokomo, Munyoyaya, Orma, Watta, Wailwana, Wardei among others.

KNBS has however assured Kenyans that preparations for 2019 Population and Housing Census slated for August 24 are in top gear.

Director General Zachary Mwangi says for the first time Kenya will leverage newer technology to ensure the census exercise is conducted as per expected global standards.

“KNBS is working round the clock to ensure preparations for the census are completed within the agreed timelines and meet the internationally recognised thresholds,” said Mwangi during a media briefing.