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Kenyans around the world question the wisdom of gvt spending Sh18.5B on Census after another 7.7B on Huduma



Several controversies still dog the decennial census that got underway Saturday evening even as the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) maintained that they are ready for the count.

The census kicked off at 6pm and continues until August 31.


After 52 days of queuing to participate in another digital registration exercise dubbed Huduma Namba, many are yet to fully comprehend why the census will be gobbling up Sh18.5 billion to ask more or less the same questions that were asked barely three months ago.

The silence following the conclusion of the Sh7.7 billion biometric registration exercise in May has even made matters worse.

A first of its kind, every Kenyan was expected to get a unique number after the exercise that saw biometrics captured (digital fingerprints and photo) but no number or card has been forthcoming and the government has been silent about it. It also remains unclear when the numbers will be out or even the exact number of people that were registered in the exercise, which ended on May 25.

As if that was not enough, the preparatory phase of the census has been marked with poor and sometimes confusing communication. For instance, many Nairobians were not aware that there would be a pre-enumeration visit to houses by enumerators (pre-listing) on Friday. Some in Greenfields, Donholm, were almost lynched when they appeared outside peoples’ doors claiming to be conducting the pre-listing, which residents were not aware of.

In South C, another enumerator was confronted by residents who did not understand her mission when the counting was still some 48 hours away.


Many people we talked to said they were not aware of such an exercise as KNBS had not informed the public to expect such visits. “I heard a knock on my door last evening (Thursday) and the person standing there introduced himself as a KNBS staff carrying out some census-related exercise. I could not understand what this was about because I knew census was starting on Saturday,” said John Mutua of Pipeline estate, Nairobi. According to Mr Mutua, he sent the official away because he feared he could be a criminal posing as census staff.

Still on communication, KNBS problems were compounded by matters beyond their control. Having requested that Monday, August 26 be declared a public holiday, State House’s communication unit appeared to jump the gun by announcing that President Uhuru Kenyatta had agreed to the request before quickly sending out a clarification that there would be no holiday.

In an interview with the Nation last week before the State House mix-up that all but ended hopes of public holiday, KNBS director-general Zachary Mwangi had spoken passionately about the need for Monday to be a holiday.

“If we get Monday as a holiday it will make our work a bit easier as many people will be settled at home. As a tradition, we have always been having census holidays during the period of the count and it is meant to make the population to be as stable as possible since movements are minimised,” Mr Mwangi had said.

The disorganisation and poor communication was also evident on Wednesday, when KNBS cancelled a meeting they were to have with the Kenya Editors Guild (KEG) at the last minute with no explanation offered. The meeting was scheduled from 8.30am at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) and everything was on course until 8.16am when the bureau sent a message informing KEG of the cancellation.


The other controversy around this year’s census has been the budget. From Sh8.4 billion in 2009, the 2019 count is costing the taxpayer a cool Sh18.5 billion, which is more than twice the cost 10 years ago.

Regarding the budget, Mr Mwangi explained that the huge cost went to buying the devices that will be used by enumerators to input the data they collect. “In 2009, we did a paper census, meaning we were having a paper questionnaire that the enumerators would fill with the responses. This time, however, we are using a mobile device to capture data,” said Mr Mwangi.

According to the KNBS boss, the cost of acquisition of the devices is normally high.

“But if you look at it in the medium and long-term, these devices will be used in carrying out other activities of the government like field surveys that we will be carrying out as we move forward,” he said.

Mr Mwangi also defended the budget, saying the Sh18.5 billion is a five-year budget from 2015/2016, when KNBS started the process by conducting cartographic mapping of the whole country to come up with enumeration areas. It will cover up to the 2020/2021 financial year, he said.

“Much of the budget goes into paying allowances for the census personnel we have hired, including security,” he said.


The bureau has hired more than 163,000 census personnel comprising ICT supervisors, content supervisors and enumerators.

The use of technology in the census has also been controversial. Leaders from the North Eastern and those from central had clashed over the rumoured use of biometric system during the census. The north was opposed to it while central leaders were overwhelmingly in favour of a biometric system. KNBS later dropped the idea.

Adding to the problems KNBS has had are the logistical challenges during the training of enumerators that ended on August 20. By the time the training ended, the materials the enumerators were going to use, save for the electronic kits for inputting data, had not yet arrived.

In some places the materials were being distributed on Thursday, two days after the training had ended. Also a cause for concern was the delay in paying all the enumerators their daily transport and lunch allowance during the training, which was set at Sh150 per day for seven days. In some places like Kahawa Wendani, enumerators camped at the venue of training until 9pm on Wednesday to be paid.

Like the Huduma Namba registration that bred suspicion with the government changing tune on whether the public would be denied any services should they miss to register in the exercise, the census has come with its own threats including a Sh100,000 fine or a year in jail for refusing to give details or giving false details.

A legal notice published in October 2018 on the exercise compels people to answer accurately to all the 36 details the enumerators would be asking, some of which many people may not be comfortable to disclose.


Although KNBS has repeatedly assured the public that the data will be kept confidential, the use of locals in the exercise may deter the free will to share certain details, presenting an odd scenario for families that may want to keep some details secret.

“Some of them may be your relatives or neighbours to whom you do not want to divulge your personal details which may be socially stigmatising,” said Irene, a civil servant who lives along Ngong Road.

Former National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich, through Legal Notice No. 205 of October 31, 2018 published the sanctions that would be imposed anyone who discloses individual census data.

“Any person who discloses census information to another person without lawful authority; or fails to provide the required information, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year or to a fine not exceeding Sh100,000, or to both such fine and imprisonment,” reads the notice.

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Court suspends Mary Wambui’s appointment as Employment Authority boss



Not so fast, the employment court has told politician Mary Wambui in her quest to take the job at the National Employment Authority.

Justice Hellen Wasilwa issued the order in Nairobi on Wednesday in a case filed by the Kenya Young Parliamentarians Association.

In the case championed by the association’s chairman-cum-Nairobi Senator Johnson Sakaja, the petitioners argue that Ms Wambui is not qualified under the law, policy and best practice, to be the chairperson of the authority.


Ms Wambui, Mr Sakaja’s team argues, does not conform to the provisions of Section 10 (2)(c) of the National Employment Authority Act and does not meet the threshold of having at least seven years’ experience in human resource management or its equivalent.

The qualifications of the chairperson of the authority, they say, are mandatory and not discretionary.
The association says Ms Wambui has on several occasions personally admitted that she possesses a limited education, which for all intents and purposes makes her unqualified and unsuitable to conduct the affairs of the chairperson.

The petitioners argue that her appointment would disfranchise the Kenyan taxpayer given the very strategic nature of the position.

“The directive of appointing the 3rd respondent, who is not qualified is not only retrogressive, arbitrary and stale, but also attempts to uncharacteristically undermine the principles of public participation and guiding principles of leadership and integrity,” the petition reads.

Justice Wasilwa certified the case as urgent and set the hearing for November 14.


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‘My addiction with strippers left me in debts worth millions,’ Robert Burale



Robert Burale has in the past been in debts running into millions but he managed to come out of it unlike most Kenyans who are still struggling.

In a past interview with K24 Faraja, Burale stated that his addiction to stripping and the pressure to keep up a facade of a flashy lifestyle pushed him into debts.

I used to live with both my parents during primary and secondary school but at some point they separated.

Life was good as we were living a high end life before I went to study marketing in London.

I enjoyed going to a new country and the freedom that came with it.

Robert Burale

Little did Burale know that some types of friends can either make or break you.

When I went there I made both good and bad friends.

I was lucky because everything was being paid for by my dad for during my first year so I had a lot of free time.

I started going to strip clubs while in London with the friends I had made.

He adds,

As an African man living abroad, every one wants you, so the attention started making us do things we would not consider doing before.

We started hoping from one strip club to the other.

At some point we got bored with strip clubs in our area and we started venturing to other areas.

He adds,



Burale adds it took time for him to accept his addiction.

It took time for me to know I am addicted. For three years I was just in strip club evangelism where we ‘recruit’ other people into the club.

When I came back to Kenya I found so many strip clubs had been opened and so I started going to savor their services.

Pastor Burale
Robert Burale’s book ‘From the strip club to the pulpit’

He adds

The problem was that when I was in London there was money but once I came back I had no money as my dad had passed away.

The family started fighting for what he had.

In a past interview with Radio Jambo, his ex wife Rozinah Mwakideu, had stated that one of the many reasons they broke up is the many debts he had.

I would receive calls now and then from people and police saying Robert had unsettled debts.

It was a character he had and I kept waiting because I thought he would change because he was born-again.

For example, the main reason why I left was after my friend came to visit me and after she left she wanted to sue him. I couldn’t handle that pressure plus other personal issues.

Robert Burale and ex-wife
Robert Burale and ex-wife Rozinah

Burale explains that his addiction to stripping was where his journey to debts began.

There is no strip club where a woman will give you a show with no money.

There are men who spend even 100,000 on a night.

I once did that and the sad thing is that it was borrowed money.

He adds,

I had to keep up a reputation. I had to go to big hotels and dress well so I kept borrowing.

With time my debts ran into millions.

It got so bad that I had to borrow *John to pay *Peter and the cycle continued.

I only accepted I had a problem after I tried committing suicide.

Burale is now out of debt and this he did by paying off debts slowly with the money he got from his jobs as a motivational speaker, actor and Image consultant.

His advice to people out there is

If you are broke accept it. Ask for help

By Mpasho

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Kenyan teen goes missing in Germany after quarreling with her parents



Police in Potsdam, Germany are looking for a Kenyan teen who went missing a week ago from her home after quarreling with her parents

The 15-year-old only identified as Britney, has been missing since Tuesday, October 15, 2019.

Mkenya Ujerumani, a local blog about Kenyans in Germany reports that the teen had a quarrel with her parents before she left their home in Drewitz in Potsdam.

At the time she is reported to have said she was going visit some acquaintances but never showed up nor returned home.

Her parents are worried since this is the first time Britney has been away from home for such a long time.

A day after she disappeared, a passerby walking by the banks of River Havel came across a bag with Britney’s personal belongings, identification and some clothes.


Upon reporting to the police, divers, a helicopter, a drone and search dogs from the coast guard were dispatched for a search operation in the river but nothing was found.

Police printed posters that were placed around all the major train stations in Potsdam but none of the four received clues brought them closer to finding the girl.

“The investigation team consists of ten police officers and will be headed by Commissioner Falk Heidke, who has substantial experience in the search of missing children and teenagers,” the spokeswoman for the Police Department West said on Friday.

Britney moved to Germany from Kenya with her mother and her younger brother about two and a half years ago. She attends a Gesamtschule in Potsdam.

By Nairobi News

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