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Kenya gears for census

NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 19 – With only four days to go before this year’s National Census, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) is appealing to Kenyans to remain in their homes to be counted.

Director General Antony Kilele said on Wednesday that in areas where residents have threatened to frustrate the exercise, officials will be forced to use statistics from the 1999 National Census.

"What we need here is information so that you can take the government to task. But if you never participated, what are you going to be asking after that?"

"And this needs to be very clear. Where people decide they are not going to participate, I am going to deal with the projections as at 1999. Unfortunately you will now be doing a disservice to yourself, your community and to the society at large."

He said government would on Friday release details on the security arrangements to ensure the exercise goes on smoothly.

Kenyans complained of increase in cases of criminal activity and raised fears that criminals might take advantage of the census to terrorise people as experienced in previous census exercises.

He said they have been working closely with the provincial administration from every region to recruit local people as a way of averting crime during the census.

Mr Kilele said delivery of census materials destined for far flung areas is complete.

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"We are on course and the exercise starts on the night of August 24 and 25 and goes on for seven days. Generally what the practice has been is that in the first three days we are virtually through with almost 92 percent of the counting. But places where people will have to travel long distances where people come and say we were not enumerated".

Meanwhile, the government will for the first time since independence be able to tell the population of persons with disability in the country.

Speaking while handing over National Census Braille material to the National Council for Persons With Disabilities (NCPWD), KNBS chairman Peter Mwita said this year’s census questionnaire contains a section where family members will be required to indicate if they are living with person with disability and also indicate what type of disability.

Mr Mwita said: "This year’s questionnaire is one of the most comprehensive questionnaires compared with the rest. We have a question on disability where now we are going to get the first output from the census that the government can use to benchmark any issues about the disability and any further future valuations."

He said they had completed a household survey on the number of persons with disability but decided to withhold its release since the data from the census will have a national outlook than a survey which works on samples.

At the same time, NCPWD board member David Wanjama said the move was timely and would assist in planning for their members.

He said that in the past they were forced to rely on the World Health Organisation projection that 10 percent of every population is disabled, which is not reflective of the situation in Kenya.

He said this often resulted in a blame game with the government on why they don’t have the right information or statistics on the number of person living with disabilities.

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