You face Sh500,000 fine for false census answers

Thursday August 22 2019

Missing out on the census could land you in jail for one year, see you pay a fine of Sh500,000, or suffer both penalties.

This is among the tough set of conditions in the law for Kenyans who might be tempted to obstruct the conduct of the exercise that kicks off on the night of August 24 this year.

  • What does the law say?

The Statistics (Amendment) Act, 2019, that was signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta last month, amended the penalties for obstruction of census from Sh100,000 to Sh500,000 while giving the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) professional independence and expanded its mandate.

This means those who plan to boycott or play hide and seek with the enumerators risk Sh500,000 fine or a one-year jail term.

“Any person who hinders or obstructs the director-general (of KNBS) or any authorised officer in the execution of any powers conferred under this Act commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months or to both,” says the Act.


Further, failing to answer the enumerators' questions or giving them false information will also attract a similar penalty but with a six-month jail term.

“Any person who wilfully fails to give any information or particular as required under this Act commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding five hundred thousand shillings or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or to both,” the amended law states.

The court also has an option of penalising the offender with both sanctions.

  • How will the data be collected?

This year’s census, scheduled for August 24 and 25, is the first since since devolution following promulgation of the Constitution in 2010.

It will also be first time it is carried out using a digital or fully automated process of data capture.

The digital process is expected to ensure that the data collect is more accurate and secure, in addition to being collected and accessed at higher speeds and efficiency levels.

  • What questions will you be asked?

The enumerators will ask questions on personal and household information. This includes:

- Personal information regarding age, gender, date of birth, nationality/ethnicity, religion, mental status, place of birth, marital status and migration status, persons with disability, education, and occupation.

- Females will also be asked about the number of living children they have given birth to.

- Information regarding access and ownership of ICT equipment and services, crop farming, livestock and aquaculture, housing characteristics and ownership of assets.

  • Who will be counted?

All residents who will be found within the borders of Kenya on the August 25 and 25 census night will be counted.

The target population includes persons on transit, individuals in hotels and lodges, and institutions such as hospitals and prisons and people in the households, among others.

Counting will start on the night of August 24, and continue up to the August 31, 2019 when the exercise is set to end.

People will be counted with reference to where they spent the night of August 24/25, 2019, which is called census reference night.

Should one miss out on the counting done on the reference night, they will still be counted but with reference on where one was on the night of August 24/25.

In case one is not counted by August 31, a toll-free number will be provided for the individual to contact KNBS, which will send an enumerator to count the person’s household.

Kenyans out of the country will not be counted.

  • When will the results be released?

The initial census report is expected after three months while the detailed analytical reports will be within one year after the census.