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Kenya mulls curfew on Census night

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 12 – The government is considering imposing a curfew on the night of August 24 to ensure the smooth running of this year’s National Population and Housing Census.

Director of Population and Social Statistics at the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Collins Opiyo said on Wednesday that they were toying with the idea of having social places closed to ensure that people stay at their homes to aid their counting.

“We will start counting people earlier on in the evening once we know they are at their homes and are waiting to be counted,” he said adding that they didn’t envisage having problems in the rural areas.

“We are also carrying out a publicity strategy to encourage people to stay indoors to facilitate the counting,” he said.

Mr Opiyo explained that they would use the De facto method where people will be counted based on where they’ll spend the census night.

“We count people under the conservative assumption that everybody we find in those households will not move away from that house during the night,” he explained about the exercise which will last until August 31. 

This year’s poll, which is the fifth since the country attained its independence, will cost Sh7.4 billion. The government is funding 95 percent of the budget while the reminder is coming from development partners. Currently, it is estimated that Kenya’s population stands at 40 million.

Preparatory measures are still being undertaken to ensure that the process is carried out without hitches. Proper arrangements on how to address challenges such as security and nomadic nature of pastoralists are being made and the announcements would be made soon, the government has said.

Members of Parliament from such communities and also the Ministers for Special Programs, Agriculture and Water have been consulted as the government seeks to scale up relief food to these people and ensure their availability at the time. Security organs have reassured the safety of both the enumeration personnel and all other households during the exercise.

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For the first time, there will be external and independent monitors who will be expected to give feedback on the exercise and report on any irregularities so that appropriate action is taken.

Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya said that provisional results of the survey will be out by December as that they would employ IT related technologies in the poll to ensure that accurate information is collected and compiled speedily and efficiently.

“We will use a lot of IT just to make sure that the process is fastened. We anticipate that we will get results of say how many males or female there are by end of December,” he said.

An in-depth analysis of all other categories will however take more time, he said. A post-enumeration survey will also be carried to validate the results which are expected to be used for the implementation of the Vision 2030.

More questions have been included in the questionnaires that are currently being printed for use by the estimated 12 million households across the country.

The enumerators will be seeking to know how many Kenyans are in the Diaspora, how many foreigners are in the country, the people living with disabilities, use of IT in households, livestock population among others.

Once this is done, the data will be available on the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) website.

On the contentious issue of ethnicity, Mr Oparanya maintained that the question on tribe would be included in the questionnaires despite calls on Kenyans to disregard it.

“We have to know the population of each ethnic group. This has always been there since independence and we didn’t see the reason why it should not be there this time,” he said

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