Kenya: Data on Intersex People to Remain Confidential

20 August 2019

The government has warned enumerators in next weekend's population census that they risk being sued if they violate the confidentiality agreement concerning intersex people.

"The enumerators are well aware of this because they have been trained on the issue," Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Director General Zachary Mwangi said during a meeting between the agency and intersex people at a Nairobi Hotel on Monday.

In a speech read on his behalf by KNBS statistician Vivian Nyarunda, Mr Mwangi assured the intersex community that the government is committed to recognising them, and that the census will help it plan adequately for them.

For the first time since independence, intersex persons will be counted during the National Housing and Population Census, following a landmark court order five years ago.

"We need social deconstruction of our minds. The intersex people may have finally got legal recognition, but the greater challenge remains the social recognition of this community," Suba North MP Millie Odhiambo said.

TRIBE MIX UP

Nominated Senator Isaac Mwaura, the intersex people's ambassador, said it is a question of sex and not gender, and urged all intersex people to come out and be counted since it is the only way for them to be recognised.

Many children born with ambiguous genitalia have faced stigma, discrimination and premature corrective surgery.

In Mandera, Senator Mohamed Maalim Mohamud has written to KNBS complaining of a mix up in the tribe codes to be used in listing the Somali-speaking communities.

"Note that all the sub-tribes listed under this heading do not belong to Somali tribe," he said.

In Tana River, two MPs urged the county government to provide transport for the enumerators, claiming Galole and Bura constituencies risk being merged if the two fall short of the minimum population of 160,000.

In Turkana, the county government pleaded with residents who migrated to neighbouring Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan to return so that they can be counted.

LISTING DRIVE

The residents migrated to the neighbouring countries in search of water and pasture for their livestock after a devastating drought.

County leaders challenged the 2009 census results in court on the grounds that most people were not counted.

In Nyandarua, the clergy, political and business leaders are in aggressive campaigns to have locals working or residing away from the region to return and be enumerated.

The leaders went around on Sunday urging parents and relatives to plead with their kin to return home this weekend.

Woman Rep Faith Gitau was in Kipipiri while Governor Francis Kimemia went to Ol Kalou, Ol Joro Orok and Ndaragua.

Nyandarua Interfaith Association officials, led by Chairman Bishop Josam Kariuki, met the preachers in Ol Kalou town and strategised on how to mobilise worshippers, saying both the Bible and the Koran have records of censuses.

In Kisii, Governor James Ongwae asked his constituents to shun the belief that physically counting children is a taboo, noting that the census is important for the allocation of resources by the national government.

By Ibrahim Oruko, Stephen Oduor, Sammy Lutta, Waikwa Maina, Manase Otsialo and Josiah Odanga

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