Article published on the 2009-08-25 Latest update 2009-08-25 06:42 TU
An enumerator records details of a family participating in the national population census at the Kibera slum in Kenya's capital Nairobi on 24 August, 2009
(Photo: Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)
President Mwai Kibaki has declared Tuesday a public holiday and called on all Kenyans to stay at home to be counted.
However, the census has been criticised because it includes a question that asks which ethnic group people belong to. Several activist groups have called on Kenyans not to mention their tribe, arguing that the information could be used for political purposes.
Human rights activist Mwalimu Mati said that he’s afraid the statistics could be used in a negative way.
“I personally doubt that there is any valid or legitimate reason for that information because we can’t see any reason why a tribe would be a basis for any governmental planning function,” he told RFI. “The census is an important aspect of planning but collecting statistical data on the basis of ethnic background is not useful.”
Mati expressed concern that the government is gathering data that he says will not be published.
“We’re coming out of a situation where the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections were fought largely on an ethnic, competitive basis,” he said.
“So it could be that there are those people who are in power who would hope to have an insight into the relative political strengths if they were to go into the next election purely on a tribal, competitive basis.”
Reporting from Nairobi, correspondent James Shimanyula said critics evoked memories of the disputed 2007 presidential elections, after which more than 1,300 people died in tribal violence.
2009-08-05 16:39 TU
2009-03-31 17:09 TU