Lamu, KENYA: The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics-KNBS has warned Lamu locals of dubious individuals claiming to work for the body and conning unsuspecting members of the public.
The conmen are said to be demanding cash so as to conduct non-existent surveys and censuses on behalf of the KNBS.
Speaking in Lamu on Thursday, Lamu’s regional KNBS Officer Rodgers Kazungu said the body is directly sponsored by the national government and as such their services are absolutely free for members of the public.
Kazungu asked locals to be on the lookout and report or arrest such officers and frog march them to the police for prompt action.
“People need to understand that the KNBS doesn’t charge for its services at all. They are free of charge. Whether it’s the census of surveys, its absolutely free and therefore if people are demanding money from you so that they do these services while claiming to work with or for the KNBS, you need to know that they are conmen who should be reported to the police and charged defrauding the public,” said Kazungu.
Similarly, the officer asked Lamu residents to be generous with information in the forthcoming census that kicks off next year August so as to enable for proper planning and allocation of resources by the national government.
Lamu leaders have complained that ever since the devolved system of governance came into place in 2013, the county gets the least allocation of funds annually making it impossible to achieve all development objectives.
Leaders have blamed numerous errors in the 2009 census which has heavily been relied upon during allocation of funds to counties.
They feel the census doesn’t reflect the actual population of Lamu and as such is misleading.
Kazungu is however optimistic that submission of the correct data by locals in the forthcoming census will put the matter to rest.
“Let people turn up for the census. Leaders should mobilize Lamu residents who are outside the country to come back and ensure they take part in the census, that’s the only way to gauge the exact population of a place. That information will now serve to either improve things or make them worse,it all lies with locals here and the leadership,” said Kazungu.
Meanwhile, Lamu residents in remote areas and far-flung islands have been assured that they will be reached in the forthcoming census that starts on August 24, 2019.
Residents of remote areas in Lamu such as Mwongo-Shariff, Mkokoni, Kiunga, Ishakani, Madina, Basuba, Mangai, Mararani, Milimani, Bahamisi and most parts of Lamu East have expressed concern that they could easily be left out of the life-changing exercise since their areas are considered insecure and unreachable.
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.
Locals said their areas are sparsely populated as people keep moving out due to poor infrastructure, insecurity, and less modernity.
These locals have appealed for an earlier head count before the official date so as to ensure they too are covered.
“We are just concerned. People have been moving out to other counties to look for jobs and the exodus has been huge over the years. By 2019 there will be very few of us here and that’s why we wish the census could take place earlier for us at least,” said Shukri Badi or Mwongo Shariff island in Lamu East.
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.
The KBS officer, however, gave an assurance that every single area would be reached for the headcount.