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Court declares disputed 2009 census results valid from 8 sub-counties in Mandera and Garissa counties

By Kamau Muthoni | May 21st 2016

The 2009 census results which were contested from eight sub-counties in Mandera and Garissa counties will now be gazetted.

The Court of Appeal set aside orders barring the National Bureau of Statistics from using, gazetting or publishing the revised census results from 8 sub counties in North Eastern on account that they were not reflecting the population in the area.

The census touched on Lagdera, Mandera East, Mandera Central, Mandera West, Wajir East, Turkana North, Turkana South and Turkana Central districts.

After four years of hearing the case, a five-judge bench ruled that the High Court erred as its orders denied policy makers and Government crucial information for planning purposes. The Judges are Erastus Githinji, Hannah Okwengu, John Mwera, GBM Kariuki and Festus Githinji.

In February 2012, then Minister for Planning Wycliffe Oparanya tabled a revised post census figures in Parliament showing that peoples’ figures in the 8 sub counties were inflated in the 2009 population count.

The inflated figures read that the two regions had 2.35 million people but the then Minister’s figures read 1.3 million people as the actual population size.

“The prohibition order that was issued by the Judge restraining the second appellant (KNBS) from publishing or gazetting, or circulating the projected results for the eight districts or circulating any other figures other than the census population results for 2009 (2.35 million) to any other organ of the Government, Constitutional Commission, offices or organisations,” the court ruled.

“In effect made it impossible for the second appellant to provide population projections for the eight districts, thereby denying government policymakers, and other research institutions information that is crucial for their operations.”

According to the State the post-census revision of statistics disclosed unscientific population growths in area as the birth rates, compared to the rate of death could not support the final numbers.

But the area leaders moved to the High Court arguing that the minister had no powers to alter the census results. Justice Mohamed Warsame, then a High Court judge ruled in their favour. He ordered that the State could not use the projected results to cut out electoral boundaries in the two counties and that they could not be spread to other Government organs.

But the Court of Appeal judges ruled that the lower court was not justified to stop the Government from using the projected figures when necessary.

“Accordingly, we allow the appeal to the extent of setting aside the order prohibiting from publishing, issuing, or gazetting projected results of Lagdera, Mandera East, Mandera Central, Mandera West, Wajir East, Turkana North, Turkana South and Turkana Central districts, or from circulating to any other organ of the Government, Constitutional Commission, offices or non-governmental organisations, any other figures other than the published 2009 population and Housing Census Results,” the court ruled.

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