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Census enumerator Mercy Cherono with Wilfred Simatwa and his wife Justin Chemutai at Mowlem village A in Endebes constituency, TransNzoia County, on Friday. [Collins Kweyu, Standard]
Retired President Daniel arap Moi was among the first Kenyans to be counted last evening as the Government kicked off the 2019 census.

Moi was enumerated at his Kabarak, Nakuru, home in an exercise that was led by Nakuru County Commissioner Erastus Mbui.

The former Head of State said he was happy to have participated in the census conducted by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and called on Kenyans to participate fully in the exercise. Moi said census is critical as it helps the Government in planning and making key policy decisions on resource allocation.

“I am happy to participate in the count and call on Kenyans to participate fully in the exercise, which is key in aiding the government to plan and make key policy decisions,” said the former president.

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Baringo Senator Gideon Moi, who was also enumerated, underlined the importance of the exercise, saying the government will be in a position to develop sound management and service delivery to the people.

“I call upon the people of Kenya to cooperate with census officials to make it a success. This will not be an exercise in futility as it is done for sustainable development,” Gideon said.

The exercise, which continues up to Saturday, kicked off on a low in Likoni, Mombasa, where an official lost his gadgets to robbers. Another incident of lost gadgets was reported in West Pokot where a tablet, USB cable, an adapter, power bank, staff badge, reflector jacket and a bag were stolen after suspected robbers broke into a hardware at Sioyi trading centre.

Adrian Kemei, the census content supervisor in Siyoi Ward, said he left the gadgets at the hardware to charge overnight.

Despite government warning, leaders in North Rift were mobilising residents to go and be counted in their home areas. The mobilisation, that began on Thursday, was intense in Elgeyo Marakwet County where Marakwet East and Keiyo North constituencies have been flagged by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission for not meeting the population threshold.

SEE ALSO: Judge orders agency to open census servers

In Marakwet West Constituency, with a population of 78,000 in the 2009 census, below the recommended 133,000 threshold for a constituency, area MP Kangogo Bowen started an online mobilisation strategy dubbed turudi nyumbani (let us go back home) in a bid to encourage people from the area who have re-located to neighbouring Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia counties to return to their ancestral homes. A similar campaign was also initiated by Elgeyo Marakwet Deputy Governor Wisely Rotich.

In Busia, Education CS George Magoha pleaded with Kenyans living in border towns not to cross over to neighbouring countries to drink after bars were ordered to close business for the census.

ICT Permanent Secretary Jerome Ochieng gave a toll free line 0800-221021 to be used to make urgent inquries. The director of Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Zachariah Mwangi said there will be interpreters for people with hearing disabilities.

[Additional reports by Kenyanitto Oyier, Kepher Otieno?, John Shilitsa?, Irissheel Shanzu, Peter Ochieng, Stephen Rutto, Weldon Kipkemoi and Jane Mugambi?]

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