In Summary
  • This is even as President Uhuru Kenyatta rallied Kenyans to give maximum support to the process.
  • West Pokot County police commander Jackson Tumwet said police officers visited the area but are yet to arrest any culprit or to recover the stolen equipment.

The sixth national census in independent Kenya began on Saturday evening amid technology hiccups and apathy.

Data transmission hitches and delays in supply of vital tools to enumerators were reported in some parts of the country, cutting down the efficiency of the process.

Equally, Kenyans who had been asked to leave social places to be at their homes early could still be found in various recreational facilities.

In Nairobi, for instance, the spots were teeming with revellers long after the 5pm shutdown time recommended by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i last week.

This is even as President Uhuru Kenyatta rallied Kenyans to give maximum support to the process.

“I humbly ask all Kenyans to come out and be counted. Let’s fulfil what’s required of us,” said Mr Kenyatta.

Opposition leader Raila Odinga

Opposition leader Raila Odinga (second left) with census enumerators at his Karen home, Nairobi, on August 24, 2019. PHOTO | COURTESY

He was speaking during the 60th anniversary of the Christ is The Answer (Citam) church in Karen, Nairobi, where he was accompanied by his deputy William Ruto and Dr Matiang’i.

“We need to know who you are and what you have. That way, we will be able to divide the resources that God has given us in an equitable manner to reach every citizen in this country,” said Mr Kenyatta.

Based on the headcount results, he said, the government will have facts to plan and ensure there are enough schools, hospitals, power connectivity and others “which can’t be done based on guesswork”.

During the event, presiding Bishop, Dr David Oginde, questioned the precedent set by Kenya in Africa by including the intersex as a third gender to be counted for the first time in the 2019 census.

Dr Oginde said although the clergy and Christians do not have a problem with enumerating the intersex, they were jittery as to the agenda, wondering whether Western countries may be behind it.

“We have no problem with the counting, but the agenda behind it is what we are questioning. We won’t allow the Western world to come and push us,” he said, amid applauds from the congregants.

Nyeri census

Police officers and enumerators prepare to begin the 2019 national census in Nyeri Town on August 24, 2019. PHOTO | NICHOLAS KOMU | NATION MEDIA GROUP.

The clergyman asked President Kenyatta to put his foot down and uphold Christian values, saying he had done it before when former US President Barack Obama visited the country.

“We were so proud when you hosted Mr Obama and when you were pushed to endorse things that shouldn’t exist, you said that they were non-issues,” said the bishop.

Making history as the first census to be conducted with the aid of technology, the census could perhaps be the first to see long-distance travellers counted on transit.

According to a directive from the Interior ministry to the Inspector-General of Police and regional commissioners, passengers in vehicles on transit between 6pm and 10pm yesterday had to be stopped at various roadblocks so that occupants could be counted.

Page 1 of 2