The just-concluded population census is generating political heat given that the figures will influence resource allocation, boundaries review and ethnic alliances ahead of the 2022 general election. There has been intense mobilisation by some politicians of people to register in their rural counties to boost figures.
While a majority of politicians from across the country have insisted that the headcount meets the minimum threshold of credibility, it is feared that some figures could have been cooked. In the 2009 census, a dispute arose but the figures were upheld by the courts. This year, the suspicions have been amplified by the arrest of government officials especially in Northern Kenya, which is being closely watched, to see the kind of figures that will emerge. The region had the most contentious figures in the last count.
The 2009 controversy now casts a long shadow over the 2019 census in Mandera, Wajir and Garissa counties. State officials in the region have been accused of facilitating irregularities by inflating household numbers in their areas of jurisdiction. Chiefs and their assistants are on the spot over perceived inconsistencies.