Kenya’s 8th census exercise is currently underway across the nation. Yesterday, 26th August, was the third day of the census exertion and the counting will continue until the 31st of August. Counting from the first day of Saturday, August 24th, this exercise will occur over a week’s time.
Reminders of What is Happening, and Why
Enumerators will be passing by each house to tabulate the people living in the household, or those visiting. The data, as stated by government spokesman Cyrus Oguna, is to be used to offer better services to the people and not for personal benefit by leaders. The information will aid the government in its plans for the country over the next ten years. Consequently, during the Sunday briefing on the ongoing census, Oguna called for the exercise not to be politicized and explained the importance of the census being for the future generations of the country. He added that the electronic data being accumulated is non-erasable and cannot be tampered with.
Those living in hotels will be given questionnaires to manually fill and enumerators at the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) center would input the data into the system. Those not counted by the 31st are advised by KNBS to report to their local administrative office after confirming that none of their family members, in their locality of residence or elsewhere, had registered them on their behalf. The advised curfew of 5pm is just that: an advice. It increases the feasibility of counting the populace, thus explaining Interior CS Fred Matiang’i’s insistence that entertainment joints and bars remain closed from 6pm. Upon observing those who did so on Saturday, Oguna lauded the owners during the Sunday briefing, inclusively crediting them for the achieved enumerations finished the previous day.
The final reminder to the public is to note the number should be written by enumerators on hour house, or any available surface they choose. Do not erase it. It will be used to indicate that your house has been counted and will be further used in guiding Content Supervisors who make repeated visits to sampled households to validate the collected data. For those who have any concerns, questions, or reports to make to the KNBS center, here is the toll-free call number which will be operational for the duration of the census: 0800221020.
It is reported that the government is to provide translators for deaf persons. However, it was confessed that knowledge on who is deaf and where they live is not comprehensive. To combat this gap in information, Oguna mentioned that “considerations have been put in place for the broad spectrum of disability including mental health”. Moreover, in regard to catering to the populace, KNBS’ Director General Zachary Mwangi stated that census enumerators have been trained to handle questions about the intersex and matters pertaining to them.
The first night of the census exercise, the 24th, witnessed an all-nighter by enumerators from 6pm to 6am. However, from the 25th onwards counting will only be done during the day.
On the Ground; At your Doors
The enumerators coming to the houses have faced various challenges from being exposed to vulgar language, lied to, and chased away from the homes they are stationed to count. In response to this, Rtd. Col. Oguna encourages people to stop demonizing the venture, not to panic, cooperate, and let in the enumerators when they knock on the doors. “Cooperate with them. Do not look at them as strangers. They are people who have been accredited to carry out this exercise,” he said.
The enumerators have been paid for their trainings, with the rest of their payment coming after the census, and are qualified to do what they are coming to do, that is, to count and register the people of Kenya. With consideration to the many who worry about security, and how to differentiate the enumerators from burglars exploiting this week to intrude, KNBS Population and Social Statistics Director MacDonald Obudho listed the following 5 ways Kenyans can protect themselves and determine who is an enumerator.
- All enumerators have identification cards on them given by KNBS. The cards should have the enumerator’s name, their National Identification Number, Kenya’s Coat of Arms, KNBS’ logo, and the official 2019 census logo
- All enumerators are required to wear a unique uniform at all times. The uniform includes an orange/maroon reflector jacket branded with Kenya’s Coat of Arms on the right and the census logo on the left along with the census motto, “Jitokeze Uhesabike”
- All enumerators will come with a Computer Aided Personal Interviewer (CAPI) tablet
- All enumerators will be accompanied by residents’ associate leaders or welfare security personnel whose purpose is to affirm to citizens that the enumerators are genuine
No enumerator should ask for monetary compensation for the exercise to be done
- No enumerator should stay in your house for more than half an hour.
Know Your Rights: Understanding Need for Personal Identification
During the interview, citizens have the right to discretion about what they feel is private information. This topic is being addressed because of alleged reports on enumerators threatening Kenyans who refused to divulge their IDs or Passport numbers. According to Amnesty International, everyone has the right to privacy, silence, and to safeguard possessions from being seized. As explained by Mr. Oguna, the identification documents are being asked for the sake of personal identification affirmation; that is, for verification of claimed identity, and to prove it- therefore making it authentic to the witness (the enumerator). This step is also being used to smoke out fake IDs and anyone who may be residing, or passing through, Kenya illegally. Oguna stressed that the demand for IDs and/or Passports is not to monitor people’s activities but to ensure that cards are genuine. This plays into overseeing public security.
Obstructing the Census has Repercussions
Anyone who obstructs the mandates of the National Population and Housing Census may face charges in the court of law. There are penalties prescribed and they follow as: fulfilling jail time of 1 year and/or paying a fine of 500,000 Ksh. Failure to coherently answer questions, or lying to the enumerators, raises risks of acquiring these penalties, but with a 6 month jail-time, rather than a year.
President Uhuru Kenyatta signed the 2019 Statistics (Amendment) Act last month where the penalties for obstruction of the census were amended and the KNBS was given professional independence as well as expanded mandate. The fine was thence raised from 100,000 Ksh. to 500,000.
By: Ann Yebei