Kenyans Have Security Concerns Over Plans To Carry Out The Census At Night


Kenya’s sixth Census is set to be conducted on the night of 24th August 2019. The census is done every ten years with previous editions having been conducted in 1948, 1962, 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999 and 2009. In a move to ensure that everyone is counted and that the process does not take long, plans have been put in place to have the exercise conducted at night.

The key aspects of demographics to be captured in this census include

  1. Disability
  2. Education
  3. Labour Force
  4. ICT
  5. Livestock
  6. Agriculture
  7. Housing Conditions
  8. Amenities and Household Assets

People at hotels, immigrants and the homeless will also be captured during this census. Intersex people will also be counted for the first time ever.

The average time taken by the enumerators at every household will be an average of 30 minutes. Depending on the diversity of the data to be captured at the household, it could take a longer or shorter time.

In this census information on ethnicity and nationality will also be collected. The aim of this is to provide data on the country’s rich ethnic diversity and in-migration. This will also help asses the socio-economic characteristics of people from different backgrounds.

The counting will start on the night of the 24th and 25th of August. During the Census Nights people are expected to be present in their households on the night of the 24th or the 25th of August will be counted as a member of the household. All the counting will be done in reference to where someone spent the night on those two days.

The move to have the census done at night has raised security concerns from Kenyans. Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i has assured everyone that security will be beefed up on the nights of the census.

Kenyans have taken to social media platforms to express their concerns on the threat posed by the prospect of having the enumeration process done at night.

Some are wondering why they are supposed to open doors for ‘strangers’ so late into the night. Due to security concerns, some Kenyans think it is not a very good idea to open the door for the enumerators at night.

Despite Dr. Matiang’i assuring everyone that security will be beefed up most Kenyans are still concerned because of the insecurity in most parts of the country.

Others are very worried that there shall be crimes committed on the night. They say choosing to not open the door is primarily because of security reasons.

Gender victimization and violence was also an issue when talking about security concerns. Some think that women will be targeted by thugs masquerading as enumerators.

Some believe it will be much better to do it during the day, before 7 pm. The government’s move to have the census conducted at night is seen as flawed.

People are worried that rogue individuals out to take advantage of the apparent loophole will gain access to people’s homes.

Check out part of the conversation here.

The Kenya National Bureau Of Statistics (KNBS) has moved to dispel some of these fears by rolling out guidelines on how to verify its staff from fraudsters and criminals when they knock at your door.

Here is what to look out for when the census staff knock on your door.


According to KNBS Director in charge of Population and Social Statistics MacDonald Obudho, the following are key identifiers of the permitted officials conducting the census:


The census enumerators and supervisors will be issued with an official badge stating their names and ID number. The badges will have the government, KNBS and census logo.


The census staff will wear orange and maroon reflector jackets. The jackets will have a government logo on the right and a census one on the left. The jackets will also have the census motto ‘Jitokeze Uhesabike’ printed on the back.


They will also have a black CAPI tablet with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics logo at the back since all information will be captured electronically.


The enumerators will be accompanied by residents’ association leaders or welfare security group leaders who are well known to the household members for purposes of comfort setting.


Enumerators are not allowed to ask for money from citizens and therefore no one should give out money to any enumerator for the process to be conducted. The process is free to all households.


An enumerator will spend about 30 minutes in each house. This may be shorter or longer depending on the number of members in the household.


Once the enumerator has collected data from your household, he/she will write a number on the door or at any visible place on the structure or issue a structure numbering card to indicate that counting has been conducted.


Prior to the census day, there will be a census ‘rehearsals’ day during which residents and enumerators will have an opportunity to familiarise with the exercise.


County census committees were responsible for recruiting the enumerators and supervisors, who are expected to work in their respective areas. The recruitment was to ensure that they live within the areas where they will conduct the exercise and are therefore known to the residents.


The enumerators will ask questions on personal and household information. This includes:

a] Personal information regarding age, gender, date of birth, nationality/ethnicity, religion, mental status, place of birth, marital status and migration status, persons with a disability, education, and occupation.

b] Females will also be asked about the number of living children they have given birth to.

c] Information regarding access and ownership of ICT equipment and services, crop farming, livestock and aquaculture, housing characteristics and ownership of assets.

In case your household will not have been enumerated by August 31, a toll-free number will be provided for you to contact KNBS to send an enumerator, alternatively, you can report to the local administrative office.

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Reuben Wanjala is a Content Developer who is passionate about sharing information. He specializes in Public Relations and is a strong believer in the need for African development through the dissemination of useful information and positive journalism. He trusts in the power of positive thinking.