Repeat census to go on as planned

Sunday August 7 2011

Minister for Planning Wycliffe Oparanya during the launch of the 2009 National Census. Photo/FILE

Minister for Planning Wycliffe Oparanya during the launch of the 2009 National Census. Photo/FILE 

By JOHN SHILITSA  [email protected]    

A repeat census in eight districts where results were nullified last year will go on as planned despite a court case seeking to block it.

The recount, said Planning minister Wycliffe Oparanya, was important and could not be wished away since the results would guide the government in formulating its development strategies in future.

The minister took issue with leaders from the affected districts, accusing them of politicising the issue. He urged them to support the recount.

He said the court case and other hurdles would not make the government call off the repeat census, arguing that it was too late to stop the exercise that had been held back by lack of funds since August 2009.

Mr Oparanya said the funds needed were now available and “there is no reason why we should let go of the opportunity to conduct the recount of the population in the affected areas”. He was speaking to reporters at Butere Girls High School.

Mr Oparanya last week announced that the government had earmarked more than Sh400 million for the repeat census, arguing that lack of funds had delayed it, and not laxity.

The minister said that the Treasury had allocated money for the work in this year’s budget and that plans to conduct it were at an advanced stage.

Results for the Kenyan Somali and Turkana populations were cancelled because of what Mr Oparanya termed inconsistencies in expected numbers when he announced the results last August.

The  affected districts include Mandera The recount, Central, Wajir East, Mandera Central,  Lagdera, Mandera East and Mandera West, all of which are in North Eastern Province, which borders Somalia.

Others are Turkana Central, Turkana North and Turkana South that border the Kakuma refugee camp.

Cancelling the results last year, Mr Oparanya said the inconsistencies were discovered following analysis conducted shortly after the census.

He said the rate of increase in population was higher than the population dynamics, a reason that prompted cancellation of the ‘suspect’ results.

The cancelled results indicated that Lagdera has 245,123 people, Wajir East 224,418, Mandera Central 417,294, Mandera East 288,687 and Mandera West 319,772.  Turkana Central had 254, 606, Turkana North 374,414 and Turkana South 226,379.