In Summary
  • Preparations for the census are at an advanced stage and piloting is underway in selected regions.

  • The next boundary review will, inevitably be a high-octane exercise.

  • Conducting the electoral boundary review after 2022 will afford the country a much-needed transition from the elections and allow for a less hurried and more accurate census.

The announcement by Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati that electoral boundaries will be reviewed soon could drive the country into the eye of a storm.

Both the delimitation and the 2022 General Election are emotive and polarising issues that should not be undertaken simultaneously. That is a political and litigation minefield.

The Kenyan populace and its economy need reprieve after last year’s heated elections. The Population and Housing Census, which precedes the delimitation, has, in itself, been controversial. It could delay the boundary review if the outcome is contested and the report is not adopted in good time.

The census, conducted by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) under the Statistics Act, and the Electoral Boundaries review by IEBC, under the Constitution, if undertaken as announced, will overlap between 2018 and 2021.

NATIONAL CENSUS

Preparations for the census are at an advanced stage and piloting is underway in selected regions. The IEBC says it is doing the preliminary work as it awaits the census results.

The census data hugely informs planning and allocation of resources and is the basis for constitutional consideration for the review of boundaries.

Whereas population growth follows a systematic pattern, any major variation from the 2009 census will bring about a serious deck effect on the mapping of boundaries. The first review under the 2010 Constitution produced new constituencies, some of which may be folded up by the second through mergers.

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