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Claims of favouritism in counting drive pose threat

by kenya-tribune

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The upcoming census is running into headwinds even as the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics trains thousands of enumerators to undertake the exercise.

This is after it emerged that most of the enumerators were unknown to the locals in different parts of central Kenya.

In North Eastern, authorities have increased surveillance over insecurity concerns.

The exercise scheduled for the night of August 24 requires 135,000 enumerators, 27,000 content supervisors and 2,700 ICT supervisors for the rollout, according to KNBS.

In Tharaka-Nithi, residents have continued to hold demonstrations threatening to boycott the critical exercise claiming that those involved were corruptly recruited, discriminating the deserving applicants.

They claim the recruitment was corruptly done involving aspects of nepotism and favouritism as some chiefs colluded with the KNBS officials to import labour.

In Turima, Marimanti, Mukothima, Magutuni, Tunyai, Kathwana and Chiakariga areas, a section of residents have come out and vowed that they will not open doors for the census officers ‘because their children were discriminated in the recruitment’.

Addressing the press at Kibung’a market in Tharaka constituency on Saturday, youths said hundreds of university and college graduates who had applied for ICT and content supervisor positions were not invited for interviews despite having met all the qualifications.

Mr Mutwiri Kigara, a university graduate from Kibunga, said most of the qualified applicants for the content supervisor positions from Tharaka South Sub-County were shortlisted but were selectively contacted for interviews.

“Most of us came to learn that interviews for the content supervisors had been done a day later, because we were never contacted despite being shortlisted,” said Mr Kigara.

Mr Nturi Kabete said some of the people who have been given the jobs in Turima come from outside the sub-county.

But Tharaka-Nithi County Commissioner Beverly Opwora gave the recruitment exercise a clean bill of health.

In Isiolo, residents of Charri ward in Merti have threatened to boycott the census over what they termed as irregular recruitment of enumerators.

In a letter dated August 12 and addressed to the county statistics officer, youths from Goda sub location, said that out of the two applicants shortlisted for the work, one was an outsider and was not part of the team that went for the interviews.

“We would like to draw to your attention of one Adam Rashid ID No 36181327, who we do not know where he hails from and was not shortlisted for the interview conducted on July 13,” read part of the letter signed by Mr Abubakar Hassan, the chairperson of the group.

But County Commissioner Joseph Kanyiri asked local leaders to allow the census officials carry out their work without interference, maintaining that “those at the border will be counted where they are”.

“The national exercise has not come to help determine the boundaries between counties but for our people to be counted.

“It does not matter where they will be counted as long as we have their data, and local leaders should therefore allow the officers do their work,” Mr Kanyiri said after inspecting a training exercise for enumerators at Isiolo Boys High School.

In Nyeri, enumerators who share personal information that will be collected during the population census later this month will be arrested, the government warned.

As the training exercise for the enumerators kicked off in Nyeri on Saturday, authorities said that those hired to conduct the exercise will take an oath of secrecy before the census date.

The oath will be administered to all 135,000 enumerators across the country who are expected to complete training in the next one week.

In Laikipia, County Commissioner Daniel Nyameti said herders who had relocated to neighbouring counties in pursuit of pasture were returning home to be counted.

In the North Eastern counties of Garissa, Mandera and Wajir, where figures were contested in the 2009 census, police are on high alert after intelligence reports of plans to disrupt the exercise by criminals.

In a shared security report seen by the Sunday Nation, the militants are planning to intensify their operations in Hulogho and Sangailu in Garissa County.

“The plan will be carried out in these areas as from mid-August 2019 to early September in a bid to disrupt the national census slated for 24/25th /8/2019,” reads the intelligence report.

The militants also plan to kidnap officials involved in the exercise as well as target security personnel by planting explosives on main roads, the briefing says.

“Regional police commander to ensure that Al-Shabaab movements in Dawaduba and areas mentioned are addressed. KDF to support Dawaduba multiagency exercises,” reads the brief.

Reports by Alex Njeru, James Murimi, Waweru Wairimu, Manase Otsialo and Nicholas Komu.

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