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Uproar over hiring of ‘outsiders’ to conduct census

Police officers patrol at a training centre in Kangemi where chaos erupted over hiring of census enumerators. Photo/SAM WANJOHI.

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 15 – Kenyans in various parts of the country have raised concerns over the criteria followed in hiring census enumerators.

Since Wednesday, there have been protests in parts of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kiambu Counties, where locals accused the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) of hiring people from other areas.

In Kangemi for example, chaos erupted after locals vowed to stop the ongoing training of enumerators before police were deployed to quell tensions, including with the use of teargas.

“We are not leaving here until we’re registered. We will not allow outsiders to carry out the exercise in our area,” a local who only identified himself as Jackson Khaemba shouted.

Another wondered: “Why are people from diaspora coming to take what’s ours?”

But in a quick rejoinder, the bureau Director General Zachary Mwangi issued a statement to newsrooms, sayings the shortlisting process was above board, through a county census committee.

The census committees, he said, included among other leaders from the respective areas, to ensure only locals get a chance to take part in the exercise set to kick off from August 24 to 25.

“The bureau is cognizant of the fact that there were many Kenyans who applied for the advertised jobs and had met the minimum requirements for the positions,” he said.

The training started mid-July with trainers of trainers, followed by ICT and content supervisors.

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According to Mwangi, there were over 800,000 applications, for about 165,000 available positions.

Those hired include 2,647 ICT supervisors, 22, 263 content supervisors and 138, 572 enumerators.
“It is regrettable that many had to be left out,” the Director-General said.

The government is spending Sh18.5 billion in the exercise carried out after every 10 years. The last census was conducted in 2009.

The outcome of the census, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), will be announced after 3 months.

For the first time, KNBS said it will carry out the enumeration process using digital gadgets unlike before when data was captured manually.

The use of the data-capture kits will enhance the processing information collected as well guarantee the safety of data captured, according to KNBS Director General Zachary Mwangi.
The census will focus on 8 key areas; household conditions, education, employment, disability status, technology use, livestock, agriculture, and other amenities.

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