NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 7 – Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya has been barred by the High Court from conducting a repeat census in eight districts in Northern Eastern Kenya.
Justice Mohammed Warsame said the move by the minister was irrational and unreasonable.
The judge who quashed Oparanya’s decision to cancel the 2009 census results of the eight districts, said the decision was unlawful and a violation of the cardinal rule of expectation and fairness.
Justice Warsame ruled that Oparanya had no statutory power and authority to cancel the results as there was no evidence to show that the residents colluded or corrupted the results.
He said the residents of the affected areas cannot suffer for mistakes or anomalies by the ministry.
“To allow the ministry to cancel the results will be tantamount to allow it to benefit from its own omissions. The ministry cannot be allowed to blow hot and cold at the same time,” he ruled.
According to the judge, it was unreasonable for the minister to cancel the census results of the areas before post-census evaluation and assessment had been conducted.
“It was unreasonable for the minister to cancel the census results without any justification. He acted in excess of jurisdiction and his authority. That is why he must be given a red card,” declared the judge.
Justice Warsame concurred with the applicants that it was the responsibility of the Planning Ministry and its agents to conduct as a credible census in line with the international standards.
The residents of affected districts through lawyer Kioko Kilukumi went to court complaining that an attempt by the government to repeat the census was clear indication that the government was determined to marginalise communities in those areas.
They argued that the government was treating them like second class citizens adding the government was not planning to allocate resources to the people of the North Eastern province.
Oparanya cancelled census results in Lagdera, Wajir East, Mandera Central, Mandera East and Mandera West, due to inconsistencies in expected numbers.
He said the rate of increase was higher than the population dynamics as the number of men was higher than that of women by three times.