Home » With all the hype, will 2019 census serve its intended purpose when the cameras pan away?

With all the hype, will 2019 census serve its intended purpose when the cameras pan away?

By Nicholas Olambo

Politicians are good at ‘hijacking’ events and running them as their own shows. They do it with funerals every day, they do it with Christmas and national days. That they can use something for political mileage, that thought alone gets them out of their beds. They did it at the Late Kikuyu Benga star’s burial ceremony yesterday. John De’ Mathew’s funeral was more political than musical.

The deputy president Dr William Ruto in his address largely forgot about mourners, with serious jokes he attacked his political foes. He was all ‘G’on William Gitau Kabogo. He reminded the former Kiambu governor that he is the second in command, he deputizes the chief in command. He threw salvos. Alleged mistresses ‘cleared the air’, again a politician was shining at a musician’s funeral and it was all joy when Sabina Chege said she had no affair with the late. It was a different relationship may be.

All these is happening when 2019 census is getting a positive push from politicians. These guys are crazy about numbers ‘coz besides being dirty, politic is a game of numbers. Murang’a senator Irungu Kanga’ta while paying his tribute to De Mathew expressed that he is mad about the order that barred him from ferrying youths back to the rural to be counted there. What Kang’ata had in his mind about census runs across the political class. They support census for political purposes not as an exercise to determine national population to help in planning and resource allocation.

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) is the body mandated to conduct census. They did not ‘hype’ the 2019 census, there was no civic education but this week long exercise that has been reduced to a two-day event has been ‘popular’. Politicians made it popular, they hyped it for selfish gains. People like the Murang’a senator looks at census as an exercise that will help them estimate how many more they will enslave, lie to or broadly use to win their way back to office and do what politicians do. Steal from public coffers and it’s that bad intention that has popularized 2019 census.

Government is an organ of the political class and it knows how to manipulate the people, threaten and galvanize support around things to benefit politicians. Interior CS Fred Matiang’i’s order on closure of pubs and social joints at 5pm met its objective. People had to be home early so that the government could count them and plan the next election not budget. That order was respected, security was beefed, land cruisers were in every street with angry cops. There I confusion if people not work on Monday to allow effective count.

I don’t know how they do it that sometimes they lack enough security officers to but on election or campaign day they get more officers to beef up the situation of the time. Of all the censuses, this is the most hyped. Its huge media coverage concealed the stories of Henry Rotich and the 19billion missing, striking county workers or Josephine Kabura being charged again.

This exercise meeting its objective is doubtable. The official numbers of the 2009 census were never announced but politicians with powers to access information, accessed and used it to con the people. 2019 census is in everybody’s mouth because politician hyped it and will use it to their advantage.