1 September 2010

Kenya: Anger As Census Results Cancelled

Nairobi — Fury greeted the census results yesterday with some MPs and ministers threatening to go to court over the cancellation of figures for remote eight districts.

Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya fixed Kenya's population at 38,610,097.

He annulled figures from eight districts because of "inconsistencies" and said the count will be repeated in those areas.

The results show Kenya has an almost equal male and female population.

Males are 19,192,458 and females 19,417,639, but in some of the affected districts men were four times more than women.

Tourism minister Najib Balala and MPs Hussein Abdikadir of Mandera Central, Ekwee Ethuro of Turkana Central and Nominated MP Mohammed Affey dismissed the results as fake and called on the government to cancel them all.

"How can it be a national census without the eight areas?" wondered Abdikadir.

"These results are a joke. We gave them a whole year but they came back with manipulated figures that do not make any sense to anyone," said Balala.

Ethuro and Affey said they will go to court to sue for a fresh census if the government does not withdraw all the figures.

"We sensitised our people through local barazas so that they will be available for the census. How then do you cancel the results? We will go to court if this is not rectified," said Ethuro.

The districts affected include Lagdera, Wajir East, Mandera Central, Mandera East and Mandera West in North Eastern Province, which neighbours the war-torn Somalia.

The rest are Turkana Central, Turkana North and Turkana South in the northern Rift Valley neighbouring South Sudan.

"Significant growth is observed in household size without accompanying growth in number of households," Oparanya said.

The cancelled results showed Mandera Central was the fourth most populated constituency in Kenya with 417,294 people, after Embakasi and Kasarani in Nairobi and Juja in Central Province.

Arid Turkana North had climbed to be Kenya's tenth most populous constituency.

Following the delay in the release of the provisional results which were due in December last year, the Star established the reason was suspicion that the data on Kenya Somalis had been "doctored".

An official who spoke to Star at the time said that nearly 100,000 enumeration forms were distributed to Muslim clerics and village elders in North Eastern province and in Nairobi's Eastleigh area who then completed them and exaggerated the numbers.

The Star established that the same code - 700 - was used to enumerate Kenyan Somalis and Kenyan Asians. Yesterday, the Kenya Asian Forum steering committee dismissed the census results of the community as "incorrect".

Zahid Rajan, a founder member of the Kenyan Asian Forum steering committee, expressed concern about the results as they did not clearly indicate the number of Kenyan Asians.

The census report reveals the total number of Kenya Asians is 46,782.

"These figures are inaccurate. The bone of contention lies with the procedure of how the census was conducted locking both Somalis and Kenyan Asians as one." The forum said it had already filed a complaint with the Kenya National Cohesion and Integration Commission.

The forum said it was ready to assist the government in correcting the anomaly.

Yesterday's results - including the doctored figures - showed Kenyan Somalis are 2,385,572 while the Turkanas are 988,592, up from about 447,000 in the 1999 census.

The figures show Kenya's population has grown by 35 per cent in 10 years from 28.7 million in 1999 to 38.6 million.

The Cabinet was in January said to have argued it was impossible for the Somalis to record such a monumental growth considering the harsh conditions in the region, the lack of infrastructure and health services.

The United Nations, represented by head of UN Population Fund country director Fidelis Zama Chi, said the entire exercise was satisfactory and commended the country for releasing the results within one year.

Antony Kilele, the director of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics said the entire exercise cost Sh8.4 billion.

"Kenya has become one of the few countries in the region and the world to release the results within one year," he said.

The results indicate 3.5 per cent of Kenyans, or 1,330, 312, are disabled.

The Albinism Society of Kenya protested albinos were left out in the disability tally. "We have a disability and should be involved in all government programmes," said Timothy Asega, a programmes officer with ASK.

According to the census, the Kikuyu community is the largest at 6,622,576 million. However, Central Province was the only region to record a drop in numbers.

A member of the Kikuyu Council of Elders in the Central Rift, Joseph Gichuru, blamed alcoholism and drug addiction among the youth as a reason for the drop in numbers. The chairman of Gema in Nakuru alleged there had been manipulation of the numbers to indicate a lower than expected figure.

The Luhya remain the second most populous community with 5,338,666 followed closely by the Kalenjin who have 4,967,328 members. The Luo who were third in the 1989 census are fourth with 4,044,440 members followed by Kamba's with 3,893,157 members.

Former Kakamega county council chairman Lawrence Itolondo urged acceptance of the results saying they were conducted by experts and therefore should not be questioned.

Eldoret Mayor William Rono and Wareng County Council Chairman Paul Kiprop said the community's increased population would have a significant bearing on the country's political, social and economic status.

The Luo Council of Elders expressed dissatisfaction with the results.

However, they conceded family planning methods were widely used in the region.

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