Matters census in Kenya have become an emotive issue in the recent past, especially in the wake of devolution that linked the population to allocation of resources at the county level.
However, there are long-standing issues related to the vital registration exercise that need to be ironed out to curb malpractice and inaccuracies that only serve to erode its credibility and make a mockery of the crucial role it is expected to play in national development, especially planning and distribution of wealth.
Treasury cabinet secretary has published new regulations ahead of the 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census on August 24 that spell out tough penalties for households that fail to disclose any required information to the enumerators. For instance, saboteurs of the exercise face a jail term of not more than a year or a fine of up to Sh100,000. Inasmuch as the tough rules may coerce Kenyans to co-operate, entrenched cultural beliefs pose a challenge. This requires government to roll out an effective public awareness campaign to educate Kenyans on the census.
Also, a pre-census survey could help identify key hurdles and address any concerns raised.
Poor preparation for the National Census will only set the stage for logistics nightmare experienced in the past as well as a large number of non-compliant households that it may not be humanly possible to enforce the rules to the letter.