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Kenya officials reassure on Census

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 25 – The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday assured that it had addressed most of the hitches that had hit the ongoing Census exercise.

Director General Anthony Kilele said that the bureau had made arrangements to ensure all areas that had not received materials were served. He added that the povincial administration had resolved disputes with elders and internally displaced persons who had threatened to boycott the exercise.

“The reports we are getting are that the exercise has picked up smoothly across the country,” he said at a press conference.

“You should also appreciate that for a process of this magnitude you will get a few hitches here and there.”

The exercise started on Monday night and will go on daily from 6am to 10pm but many had earlier expressed concerns that they had not been counted. Listeners who called Capital Fm said despite staying indoors since Monday evening enumerators had not arrived.

Mr Kilele however assured that all would be counted but advised anyone who will not have been counted by end of Friday to report to their area assistant chief.

“We have marked all households but we have to move in a structured manner,” he gave as the explanation that many parts had not been reached.

“People should feel like they have been bypassed if they are not counted today (Tuesday). The holiday was meant to ensure that we at least reach out to over sixty percent.”

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President Mwai Kibaki declared Tuesday a public holiday to enable Kenyans stay at home for the exercise. The bureau has marked 12 million households they hope to reach in the weeklong exercise.

On Monday Internal Security Minister George Saitoti imposed a four-hour closure on all bars, entertainment spots and other public places to facilitate smooth running of the Census exercise. President Mwai Kibaki and Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and their families were among the first to be counted.

And as opposed to the earlier perception that Kenyans would withhold personal information like tribe and religion most Kenyans willingly revealed this

During the seven day exercise Kenyans will be required to volunteer information about everyone who spent Monday night in their households including those who were out at work. 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.

The government has assured that security will be tightened throughout this period. Prof Saitoti said there would be intense police patrols to ensure that security of members of public and the enumerators is guaranteed. He said the police department had a comprehensive security plan for the period.

Similarly for easy identification the enumerators will be accompanied by a village elder or a member of the resident associations in urban centres.

Enumerators will be wearing a red T-Shirt while the supervisors will be donned in a blue T-shirt and senior supervisors a green T-shirt. The enumerators who will be going to collect the data will have a bag branded with the Coat of Arms, the Census Logo and the KNBS logo.

The exercise carried out after every decade is the fifth since independence and it is expected that close to 40 million Kenyans will be enumerated. During the 1999 exercise the country’s population stood at 28.6 million. During that exercise the government refused to reveal the statistics on tribe and religion attracting criticisms.

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