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Politicians urging Kenyans to travel upcountry for census warned

Thursday August 22 2019

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The government has threatened to take action against politicians planning to influence the outcome of census scheduled for the weekend.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i says they received reports that some politicians have been holding meetings, including one on Wednesday night, to plan movement of people from Nairobi and other major towns to be counted in their home counties.


While briefing the country of the preparations towards the head-count, 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.

“I want to tell you that we are following up these activities and we are watching you. At an appropriate time, we shall ensure you meet with the law,” said the tough talking CS.


He was accompanied by Labour CS Ukur Yattani and their ICT counterpart Joe Mucheru.

Governors and MPs from various parts of the country have been asking Kenyans to travel to their rural homes so that they can be counted from there.

Their aim is to garner numbers that will later their counties get them a good revenue share, as some MPs fight to save their constituencies.


Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya is one of those who have openly asked Kenyans from the region living in other counties to return home and take part in the exercise.

He urged western Kenya residents to take the exercise, seriously saying it will prove the region's numerical strength ahead of 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.

Some central Kenya MPs also 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 sovereignty.

Dr Matiang'i said such leaders are going against President Uhuru Kenyatta’s statement that “census is a straight forward exercise and let’s allow it to be that”.

“This is a modern country, Kenyans are modern people who want to live according to the law. So some of these primitive habits that our politicians have stuck with or moving people around and re-arranging clans must stop. They are affecting the way our people live,” he said.

The CS said that all security personnel will be on duty for the entire census period.

“None will be on leave until process is complete,” he said.


He also insisted that all bars and other social places would remain closed despite pleas by Kenyans on social media to revise the decision.

“No, we will connote revise. We are going to carry out census between 6pm on Saturday 24 and 6am on Sunday morning,” he said.

“The exercise will resume in households that will not have been counted at 6pm on Sunday to 6am on Monday morning.”

He called on the business community and their customers to sacrifice for the sake of their country.

“We have requested our fellow Kenyans with utmost humility and we are sorry for the inconvenience caused by our decision to close social places during the census period, but we have to do this as it's only once in 10 years,” he said.

“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,” said the CS.

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”.