Kenya's week-long census that has
generated lots of controversy ends Monday.
President Mwai Kibaki's
coalition government said the population count would provide much needed data
to aid future developmental planning.
But critics of the census say asking
Kenyans to identify their ethnicities shortly after the 2007 post-election
violence was in bad taste.
They argued that the census will provide ethnic head
count strategy to be employed by divisive politicians ahead of next general
election scheduled for 2012.
Hassan Omar, Vice Chairman of Kenya's Human
Rights Commission said that Kenyans were not
apathetic to the census.
Kenya Bureau of Statistics has assured us that the census had gone on smoothly.
That it met the expectations of the bureau in terms of planning that by the
close of today (Monday) at least 95 percent of the Kenyan people would have
been countered," Omar said.
said many Kenyans were apprehensive from the beginning about the census.
initial skepticism was the fact that first and foremost the exercise was too
expensive for the country at this point in time when there were other national
priorities like the water crisis…and many other crisis that could have required
more of an urgent attention rather than having almost seven billion [shillings]
which is almost $100 million dedicated to the census exercise," he
said the ethnic questions asked during the census generated controversy.
had had a very sensitive tribal politics and tribal affiliations to a point
that it almost brought the country into disintegration after the 2007 general
election. And therefore, it was widely believed that this was a way in which
people could head count their tribe in preparation for the political
contestation," Omar said.
said there was a need for the census to aid government's planning efforts.
are held for good causes. It helps the government in terms of planning and it
helps them to get a reasonable statistical indication of what they need to do
in terms of undertaking their planning exercises in the country," he said.
said the Kenya Human Rights Commission supports the census.
a commission we did not indicate our reservation about the census. We did
believe that it was an exercise the government believed would be undertaken
with the kind of impartiality and fairness," Omar said.
said despite initial apprehension, most Kenyans cooperated with the head count.
or interestingly Kenyans did show a lot of willingness. Whenever the
enumerators visited most of the homes in Kenya, nobody showed the kind of
reservation that maybe one would have expected. There wasn't as much apathy as
maybe we would have expected," he said.
Kenyan government has so far said it was satisfied with the level of
participation during the week-long census.