NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 6 – Questions emerged on Wednesday after the government announced that it would not release provisional results for the National Population and Housing Census that was conducted last year.
The release of the interim numbers had been scheduled for Thursday after an initial date of December 31 was postponed. Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya has now directed the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics to produce a comprehensive analysis which would take several months to complete.
The Minister’s excuse was partly that “the government is currently implementing various important national activities which require more comprehensive information.”
He however did not indicate other reasons for the cancellation.
“It is important that the report to be released captures all the necessary variables that are critical to the implementation of these activities,” he said.
When postponing the release on December 31, Mr Oparanya had cited subdued government activity and the unavailability of development partners.
The provisional report would have indicated the total Kenyan population and its distribution in the provinces and districts. A comprehensive report would then detail various characteristics like education levels, labour force, migration, housing conditions and household amenities.
The estimated population in 1999 when the last national census was conducted was 28.7 million Kenyans. In 2003, the United Nations estimated the population to have grown to over 31 million which placed the country position 34 in population among 193 nations of the world.
Reports have indicated that the population could be approaching the 40 million mark.
“The government is aware that there are figures circulating, purportedly from the census office. This should be ignored as they are not genuine,” Mr Oparanya said.
The census exercise conducted after every ten year took place last August. Mr Oparanya had said then that it would take at least four months for the bureau to tabulate the comprehensive report after releasing the provisional results.
The last census was conducted in 1999 but was jumbled, with the public casting aspersions on the figures following a long delay in announcing the results.