The national census is just two weeks away, but there is little evidence of preparations across the country. In some areas, there have been complaints about the recruitment of supervisors and enumerators, with allegations of corruption and nepotism by the chiefs, who have been entrusted with this responsibility. In other places, some of the successful applicants have yet to receive their appointment letters.
Clearly, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), whose responsibility it is to ensure that accurate data is collected on the night of August 24/25, needs to up its game.
By now, the training of supervisors and their enumerators should have begun in earnest. This is a major national exercise that must be properly carried out. And it cannot be done right without proper preparations. The subdued arrangements are rather disappointing, coming at a time when the KNBS should have rolled out the logistics to ensure that the campaign is a huge success this time round.
It will be recalled that the last census brought in some questionable figures in some regions, whose figures had to be withheld for review. We cannot afford to waste public funds again. It is important, therefore, that the country gets value for money whenever such national campaigns are carried out. The importance of carrying out an accurate census cannot be emphasised enough. This a mandatory requirement every so many years to generate useful national statistics. It must be meticulously carried out.
Having accurate figures provides the country with a proper basis for planning for national development. The allocation of resources is critical for the provision of education, health and other services. It is also vital in the development of infrastructure.
The national census also provides a security challenge that must be seriously addressed by the authorities. Crooks and other vermin must not be allowed to take advantage of the census to wreak havoc across the country. The KNBS must liaise with the security personnel to ensure that the count is carried out efficiently.