Lurambi residents chase away census officials in border row

Sunday August 25 2019

Enumerator Fredrick Bandi (left)and village elder John Imbali go through their census map at Shinyikha village, Ikolomani sub county, on August 25, 2019, after being chased away by residents of Itumbo village. PHOTO | ISAAC WALE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


The population count in Shinyika-Itumbi village in Lurambi constituency was disrupted after villagers chased away census officials on Sunday.

Villagers accused the enumerator and village elder of enlisting them in the neighbouring Ikolomani constituency instead of Lurambi.

Mr Bernard Likhanga, a village administrator, said the data for villagers from Shinyika-Itumbi was being captured by enumerators from Ikolomani constituency.


“The chief and village elder know where the boundaries lie but (they) have decided to cross into Lurambi to enlist villagers," said Mr Likhanga.

Mr Frederick Bandi, the enumerator and the village elder John Imbindi said they were assigned 133 households covering Shinyika-Itumbi village but managed to visit 21 homes on Saturday night.


But on Sunday morning, a villager blocked them from proceeding with the exercise.

“The villagers turned hostile and confronted us as we visited homes to plan for the exercise,” said Mr Imbindi.

He said he had been assigned to carry out the census exercise in the village as captured in the map from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

But Shirere Ward Rep David Ikunza said he had raised the issue with the County Statistics Officer Thomas Odhiambo.


“We do not understand why enumerators from neighbouring Ikolomani have been deployed to carry out the population census in Lurambi. We are opposed to this because the data being captured will be reflected in the Ikolomani constituency,” said Mr Ikunza.

Kakamega County Commissioner Pauline Dola said the issue had been addressed and the population count would proceed as planned.

“We have not had major issues on the first night of the count except that some homes had been left out during the prelisting exercise but arrangements have been made to ensure everybody is captured during the census,” said Ms Dola.

Kakamega County Police Commander Bernard Muli said no ugly incidents had been reported in the region.


In Mombasa County, two census officials were attacked by a suspected drunk driver on the Kibarani highway in Likoni sub county on Saturday.

The officials were collecting data from passengers on the highway near Makupa at around 10 pm.

Mr Leon Stephen, a 27-year-old content supervisor, was hit and rushed to Bomu Hospital where he was treated.  

Ms Susan Njoki, a census coordinator in Changamwe who sustained head injuries, is recovering at the Aga Khan Hospital.

Police said the victims were first rushed to Bomu Hospital before Ms Njoki was transferred to the Aga Khan Hospital.

The driver was arrested and is being held at Changamwe Police Station.

Elsewhere in Likoni, police are looking for census gadgets after suspected gang members on Friday attacked an enumerator and stole one tablet from him.

Likoni Sub County Police Commander Benjamin Rotich said investigation into the incident were ongoing.


“We are using the tablet’s IME number to trace the thieves. We have employed more security officials to protect the enumerators,” Mr Rotich said.

Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho encouraged residents to come out and be counted.

“We must give out our data for purposes of planning. The government must account for its people. They must know particular areas of interest that can better our lives,” the governor said.

In Homa Bay County, a census enumerator was on Saturday night bitten by a dog as he collected data in West Kamagak Location in Rachuonyo South.

The official was rushed to Kisii County Hospital for an anti-rabies vaccination on Saturday before being transferred to a health facility in Kisumu.

Rachuonyo South Sub County Deputy County Commissioner Mohamud Ibrahim said the official was attacked by one of his neighbours’ dogs. 

In other parts of the county, the exercise went on well as planned except for temporary delays due to rain.

Reports by Benson Amadala, Siago Cece and George Odiwuor