NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 2 – Leaders from the Counties of Garissa, Wajir and Mandera have announced that that they will mobilise their people not to participate in the repeat census scheduled to take place in eight districts.,
Led by former MPs Billow Kerow, Shabaan Ali and Mohamed Abdi Haji, they told journalists that the Minister for Planning had no powers to cancel the 2009 census results.
Former Mandera Central MP Billow Kerow said that the move by the minister will be both an affront to the law and contempt of court as there is a court order stopping the minister from cancelling the initial results.
Mr Kerow said leaders from North eastern province read underhand political motives by the Executive in the push for a repeat census.
“This attempt by the government to repeat the census is a clear indication that the government is determined to marginalise this community despite the passage of this Constitution treating us like second class citizens,” he said noting that the government had failed to allocate resources to the people of the North Eastern province.
Last year census results in eight districts were cancelled due to inconsistencies in expected numbers.
Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya said: “The rate of increase is higher than the population dynamics. If you look at birth and death rates, they cannot support those figures. Age and sex profiles also deviate from the norm.”
He said they found that the number of men was higher than that of women by three times.
“In those areas, we were wondering how men above 35 stay without women. In most cases, there is a balance of 50-50 or women are slightly higher.”
But Mr Kerow criticised the decision to cancel the results and the subsequent announcement of a repeat count whose date is yet to be set. “The Minister is yet to inform the nation what legal powers he has exercised to cancel the results and the relevant sections of the law he invoked plus there are interim orders stopping the Minister from cancelling results,” he added.
“In our understanding the Minister is acting under pressure and in the interest of operatives at the Office of the President determined to obtain more parliamentary seats through the back door,” he further stated noting that the population in North Eastern province only declined by negative one(-1) percent in 1989 after the 1979 census yet no questions were asked.
“The census of 2009 cannot be compared with previous census results because it was conducted for over five days and the days gave enumerators enough time to track down pastoralists and to count them,” he asserted.
The former Shadow Finance Minister further argued that the timing for the repeat census is inappropriate as many people from the areas affected have died or fled to search for food due to the ongoing drought.
Mr Kerow observed that the government had better things to do with the Sh400 million set aside for the census in provision of food to the starving population, securing of Kenya’s porous borders and the settlement of the internally displaced people.
The districts affected are Lagdera, Wajir East, Mandera Central, Mandera East and Mandera West, all of which are in North Eastern Province.