What you need to know:
- Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru praised KNBS for releasing the census results in good time.
- But some residents said corruption is to blame for the county’s low population.
- In Vihiga, Nyamira, Homa Bay and Siaya, leaders said the census figures were manipulated.
Leaders from at least a dozen counties on Tuesday disputed the 2019 census results and threatened court action as the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) defended its report.
KNBS Director-General Zachary Mwangi told the Nation that the agency accepts criticism of the census report released in record time.
It took a whole year to release the 2009 census report, he said.
“If we receive a complaint, we will be ready to take those aggrieved through the process of collecting data and explain the figures,” Mr Mwangi said.
He added that the data is comprehensive as the information was gathered by locals.
“The enumerators were picked from the areas they live or stay. I don’t see why such information should be disputed,” he said.
Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa, who said the 2019 census was the best managed ever in the country, also dismissed claims that the results were doctored.
"Some individuals are complaining that their counties recorded less people, meaning the regions would receive less allocation of the national cake. The exercise was undertaken by qualified personnel and we must congratulate them for doing a good job," Mr Wamalwa said during the Kenya Institute of Planners (KIP) annual conference in Kwale County on Tuesday.
Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru praised KNBS for releasing the census results in good time.
“The data should be used to address issues affecting counties and matters expected to be raised in the Building Bridges Initiative report,” she said.
In Kisii County, Senator Sam Ongeri and Bomachoge Chache MP Alpha Miruka said they would use the report to push for increased allocation of resources to the region.
Addressing journalists in Nairobi, political leaders from Tharaka-Nithi County, who included Governor Muthomi Njuki, MPs Kareke Mbiuki (Mara), Gitonga Murugara (Tharaka) and Patrick Munene (Chuka Igambang'ombe) called on the government to review the census results.
The leaders disputed the 393,177 figure as Tharaka-Nithi’s population, terming it “erroneous and not a true reflection of our population”.
They said the statistics do not reflect the findings of a pre-census report released early this year by KNBS, which indicated the region as having registered 53,930 births and 10,411 deaths between 2011 and 2018.
According to the leaders, the earlier report recorded a growth of 43,529 from 2011 to 2018 and that they expected the results released on Monday to reflect the increment and a population of 498,000.
“The results will disadvantage Tharaka-Nithi residents in terms of planning, resource and revenue allocation, division of boundaries and other aspects which depend on population size,” Governor Njuki said.
“We are therefore calling for the review of the results, failing which we shall proceed to court to demand a recount.”
Mr Munene said the 2019 census data for the county may have been manipulated because of 2022 politics.
But some residents said corruption is to blame for the county’s low population.
They said some residents boycotted the enumeration when their children were “corruptly denied” a chance to officiate it as the positions were “sold”.
“I wish our political leaders acted swiftly and addressed corruption that is to blame for misleading locals,” Mr Sabastian Mwangangi, one of the residents, said.
In Elgeyo-Marakwet, former Inspector-General of Police David Kimaiyo termed the census results inaccurate.
He said the region has four times the declared 454,480 figure.
“The population should be four times the total number of voters. A family of two voters can have six children,” Mr Kimaiyo said of the county that has 132,885 registered voters.
In Kirinyaga, Jubilee party vice chairman Mureithi Kang'ara expressed concern over the low population growth in Central Kenya.
“Locals get one or two children. Men have become impotent after consuming toxic liquor," he said.
In Vihiga, Nyamira, Homa Bay and Siaya, leaders said the census figures were manipulated.
Vihiga Governor Wilber Ottichilo called for the results to be reviewed, saying it is not possible for Vihiga's population to grow by just 40,000 in a decade.
"Our population grows by 3.6 per cent annually,” Governor Ottichilo said.
By Nyambega Gisesa, Fadhili Fredrick, Mary Wambui, Evans Kipkura, George Munene, Alex Njeru, Benson Amadala, Derick Luvega, George Odiwuor, Benson Ayienda And Dickens Wasonga