Following the release of the Kenya Population and Housing Census results on Monday this week by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), we wish to raise a number of concerns that our analysis of the numbers has revealed.
First is the unexplained reduction in population of three Sub-counties compared to the 2009 population and housing census, namely:
1. Turkana West by 2.3 %, from 245, 327 reported in 2009 to 239,627 in 2019, resulting to a population reduction of 5,700 people.
2. Turkana North by 38.6 %, from 166,200 reported in 2009 to 101,987 in 2019 resulting to a population reduction of 64,213 people.
3. Loima by 10 %, from 119,932 in 2009 to 107,795 reported in 2019 resulting to a population reduction of 12,137 people.
According to KNBS 2014 Kenya Demographic and Health Survey, Turkana County fertility rate is 6.9% and Growth rate is 3.35%, which is higher than the national average used by KNBS of 5.9% fertility rate and 2.2% growth rate respectively.
This has contributed to the underreporting of Turkana County population by 234,221 people according to our projection using the County’s fertility and growth rates of 6.9% and 3.35%.
The reality is that majority of residents of Turkana were not enumerated because KNBS recruited few personnel to conduct the exercise in such a vast county. This coupled with the fact KNBS ignored our calls to extend the census period to accommodate pastoralists who had moved out of the country in search of pasture and water, especially in Turkana North, Loima and Kibish sub counties where the biggest drop in population was reported.
Our recommendations is that KNBS:
1. To disclose Turkana County Land size and boundaries used for the census exercise.
2. To disclose the formula used for data analysis and data smoothening.
3. To explain significance reduction in population in the three sub-counties despite the fertility rate and household size of 5.9 and 5.6 respectively
4. To disclose detailed methodology used in the census exercise in respect to data collection, storage, data analysis and data reporting
Population figures are critical in revenue sharing, and we expect that KNBS will take time to address these concerns, which raise question on the credibility of the census exercise.
It is mindboggling that the use of the average national growth rate across the 47 counties of Kenya is a disadvantage to many counties like Turkana with higher fertility and growth rates, while giving an advantage to counties that have lower rates.
This even puts in question the accuracy of the 47.6million total enumerated population of Kenya.
Further to this, it should be noted that the enumerated population of Turkana in 2009 census was questioned by the National Government but the courts settled this matter owing to the fact that the exercise then presented a near accurate result, which captured the Turkana County population in comparison to other previous census exercises that were poorly done.
If the Ministry of Finance and Planning and KNBS do not institute corrective measures, then our redress will be back to the corridors of justice. We refuse to be marginalisation again.