NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 24 – Kenya will later on Monday begin a national headcount that is estimated to cost the country a massive Sh7.4 billion.
According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), more than 145,000 enumerators and supervisors will kick off the exercise beginning 6pm local time, criss-crossing the country to establish the exact number of people in the nation. The exercise is expected to last for seven days, concluding on August 31.
On Sunday, President Mwai Kibaki declared Tuesday a national holiday to facilitate the smooth running of the head count. The government has also beefed up security across the country.
“The most critical day is Monday, which is the Census night. I therefore appeal to Kenyans to stay at home on this material day so as to participate fully in this noble exercise,” the President said in a national address to the public from State House Nairobi.
Monday’s exercise is the seventh national census since 1948, the last one being the 1999 National Housing and Population Census, in which the country’s citizens were placed at 28.7 million people.
The KNBS Director General Anthony Kilele said on Saturday that all arrangements have been put in place to ensure the exercise will run without any hitches. Security has been a major issue of concern but the country’s security agents including President Mwai Kibaki have assured Kenyans that they will be safe.
President Kibaki allayed fears that criminals will take advantage of the census exercise, saying enumerators who will be visiting homes have been recruited from the local neighbourhoods and in most cases are known to the residents.
"The enumerators will carry identification cards while wearing branded T-shirts for identification. They will be accompanied by village and community elders as they visit households," the Head of State said.
Speaking separately on Sunday in his Kajiado constituency, Internal Security Minister Professor George Saitoti said elaborate security measures have been put in place to deter acts of criminality during the exercise.
Kenyans will be required to volunteer information about everyone who is expected to spend the night in their households including those who will be out at work but will be spending the night at the house.
For houses where members are not available for a couple of days a call-back card will be left for them to indicate their convenient time.