Far flung Lamu Islanders want to be counted before the next census

Photo of the current county headquarters in Mokowe town. PHOTO: NATASHA NEMA

Lamu, KENYA: Lamu residents in far flung islands that are considered not easily reachable are calling on the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics-KNBS to commence an earlier census in their areas before the official start date, so as to ensure they are covered this time around.

Residents of Mwongo-Shariff, Mkokoni, Kiunga, Ishakani, Madina, Basuba, Mangai, Mararani, Milimani, Bahamisi and other parts of Lamu East expressed worry that they could be left out of the forthcoming census exercise that kicks off in August 2019.

Speaking on Thursday, locals said the areas are sparsely populated as people keep moving out due to poor infrastructure and less modernity.

They are worried that waiting up to 2019 would be disastrous as many people will have moved out by then.

The state of insecurity has also caused a huge exodus of locals to other parts of Lamu and the rest of the country.

“We want the census done early enough so everyone can be captured. Back in 2009, many people had moved to Mombasa and Malindi and all over and that’s why Lamu East is considered to be least populated but that’s not the case. There are many reasons why people move, talk of insecurity, poor infrastructure like bad roads,hospitals and schools. Lamu East has so many challenges and that’s why people don’t like staying there,” said Abdulrahman Lali.

Lamu County, which has 6,273 square kilometers, is Kenya’s least populated region with only 101,539 people according to the 2009 population census.

Noya Buli, an elder from the terror prone Basuba ward said they are worried the ward could be broken away due to the fact that it has no registered voters as many have moved out.

The Basuba ward has been adversely affected by insecurity brought about by constant Al shabaab attacks.

“If we wait to 2019, no one will be here in Basuba when that time comes.People will have gone away.Let them do that census now so we can counted while still here,” said Buli.

In Kenya census is normally conducted after every 10 years and has been consistently taken place since 1969 in August from the night of 24th.