Stop shipping people upcountry for census, Matiang’i warns politicians
The government has threatened to take action against politicians planning to influence the outcome of the national census scheduled for the weekend.
Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i said they have received reports that some politicians have been holding meetings, including one on Wednesday night, to orchestrate the movement of people from Nairobi and other major towns to their rural homes for the counting.
Dr Matiang’i on Thursday said the unnamed leaders would face the law. “There are parts of the country where we have received reports that politicians are playing funny games, asking people to move this way or that way. At an appropriate time, we shall ensure you face the law,” said Dr Matiang’i.
He was accompanied by his Labour counterpart Ukur Yattani and Mr Joe Mucheru (ICT), all of whom appealed to Kenyans to take part in the exercise.
Dr Matiang’i also insisted that all bars and other social places would remain closed despite frantic pleas by Kenyans on social media to revise the decision.
“We are going to carry out the census between 6pm on Saturday and 6am on Sunday morning. And resume in households that will not have been counted at 6pm on Sunday to 6am on Monday morning.”
He called on the business community to sacrifice for the sake of their country. “Social places like bars are open between 2pm and 5pm on Saturday. You can go and drink then. Experienced people tell me that if you’re not satisfied with alcohol in those hours, then there is a problem with you,” he said.
He asked football enthusiasts to watch the duel between Arsenal and Liverpool at home and “give your families a rare chance of enjoying a match with you”.
Safaricom will provide data-only SIM cards that will securely transmit Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS)-encrypted data via special Access Point Name (APN) to the KNBS Firewalls at the KNBS data centre.
Governors and MPs from various parts of the country have been asking Kenyans to travel for the count with the aim of garnering numbers.
For governors, the numbers game is all about revenue share while MPs are fighting to keep their constituencies.
Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya, Kiambu’s Ferdinand Waititu and Gatundu South MP Moses Kuria are some of those who have openly asked Kenyans from their regions living in other counties to return home and take part in the exercise.
Mr Oparanya, who is also the Council of Governors’ chairman, urged western Kenya residents to take the exercise seriously, saying it will prove the region’s numerical strength ahead of the 2022 General Election.
“The coming census is different from the past ones because allocations of revenue from the National Treasury will be determined by the population of each region,” he said.
Mr Waititu said: “I urge the great people of Kiambu living outside the county to return home to be counted in the national census on the night of August 24, 2019.”
Mr Kuria’s appeal targeted Central Kenya residents in Kiambu, Muranga, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Nyandarua, Embu, Meru Tharaka Nithi, Kajiado, Nakuru and Laikipia.
Some Central Kenya MPs have reportedly organised buses to ferry people for free to their respective constituencies in a bid to meet the 133,000 threshold that gives a constituency legitimacy.
Dr Matiang’i said such leaders are going against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent caution against politicising the exercise, when he warned that the “census is a straight forward exercise and let’s allow it to be that”.
He said that all security personnel will be on duty for the entire census period.
He further addressed complaints by a section of census personnel that they were yet to be paid facilitation fees.
Dr Matiang’i said the money had been disbursed to counties and therefore “nobody should complain”.
The enumerators were to be paid some Sh2,100 before the exercise and the rest at the end of it. Mr Mucheru said that they have gazetted a hotline number – 0800221020.