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Kenya mulls census extension

NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 30 – The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) is willing to extend the census enumeration deadline to accommodate Kenyans who will not have been counted by the night of August 31st.

The Bureau’s Director of Population and Social Statistics Collins Opiyo told Capital News on Saturday that although they are confident that the exercise would be completed by Monday, some areas such as North Eastern have been difficult to access and that will be taken into consideration.

"If and only if there are places that will not have been covered by that time, then we can always relax that. It is not unusual or uncommon to extend the deadline just a little bit particularly when they are justifiable reasons to do that," he explained.

He admitted that they were lagging behind in these areas which had challenges such as insecurity, rough terrain which hampered quick movement and fuel shortage.

"Those places had an average of 70 percent as per Thursday so if we continue at that place then I think that we are going to make it," Mr Opiyo enthused.

By Friday, which was the fifth day of the census, KNBS said 83 percent of the 12 million households in country had been covered.

Mr Opiyo however said these were conservative estimates because they were calculated based on figures received by Thursday night.

"We are very confident and we are on track. In fact, we actually think that we are ahead of schedule," said adding that the public holiday that was declared on Tuesday enabled them to cover a lot of ground particularly in the urban areas and insecure areas.

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Many enumerators that are based in various districts such as Bondo, Siaya others in Western, Rift Valley and some parts in Central Provinces have reportedly finished the exercise albeit a few call backs.

He said they have had to redeploy officers who have finished counting in their specified areas to places where the exercise is still on going.

Once this exercise was finalised, the Director said his officers would spend Sunday and Monday going through their tallies to make sure that their questionnaires are in order.

Arrangements will then be made to have the materials transported back to the Bureau’s headquarters in Nairobi for data processing.

At the same time, he disclosed that they were currently installing the equipment that would be used to scan data collected from the on going census.

Mr Opiyo said the equipment would be pre-tested in the next week or two to ensure that it’s functioning optimally.

"We will have dry runs and then as soon as the material is in here, we will be ready to scan. We are going to scale up operation, we are going to work here 24/7 to process that data on time," the director added.

Scanning results from the census is part of the government’s commitment to employ IT related technologies to ensure that accurate information is collected and compiled speedily and efficiently.

The government has pledged to have the provisional results out by December.

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