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7 sect members arrested in Tharaka Nithi for saying census is ‘satanic’


Members of the controversial Kavonokya sect at a past event in 2011/FILE – COURTESY

NAIROBI, Kenya Aug 29 – Seven Kavonokya sect members were arrested in Tharaka Nithi on Wednesday night for declining to be counted in the ongoing census.

The Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) said the seven, among them family members were arrested at Gatue Location where they told enumerators “the process is satanic because we will be counted in heaven.”

On Wednesday, two locals who are members of the sect were also arrested in Kitui for declining to cooperate with enumerators saying, “we’ve been counted in the Bible”.

It was not immediately clear what charges the suspects will face.

The Statistics (Amendment) Act (2019,) signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta in July prescribes a penalty of Sh500,000 for any person who is charged with obstructing census officials.
The penalty was reviewed from Sh100,000.

While the exercise which started on August 24 has largely been smooth across the country, there have pockets of incidents calling for police action.

For example, two chiefs and one assistant chief were on Monday arrested and charged for aiding manipulation of census data in the ongoing exercise.

The first chief, National Police Service Spokesperson Charles Owino said hails from Wajir County while the two others are from Habaswein Central location in Mandera County.

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Investigations are still ongoing to establish the involvement of enumerators in the area.

On Tuesday, over 200 census enumerators and supervisors in Kilifi County downed tools over delayed allowances.

Supervisors also complained of buying materials, including chalks and spending their money.

The census will end on August 31, with the preliminary outcome expected after three months.

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