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Insecurities that many Kenyans are worried about on the night of census

By Amina Wako August 22nd, 2019 3 min read

A stormy debate is raging on social media and private chat platforms over the key identifiers of the permitted enumerators for the forthcoming national census.

The identifiers seemed all good save for ‘local leaders’ and the time the census will be conducted.

“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” one of the identifier reads.

From the ongoing conversations on social media, many Kenyans in urban settings seem to have never heard or seen anyone from residents’ association leaders or the warfare security groups.

“I come home late at night and leave before sunrise ni hustle ya Nairobi. I don’t even know my neighbors here then you tell me local leaders, if it was in the village ni sawa. Nairobi hakuna story ya local leaders. For me and my family our doors will be closed,” a member of one WhatsApp group said.

The national census will commence on Saturday at 6pm on Saturday all through the night to Sunday morning. That means the enumerators could knock on your door anytime between 6pm Saturday and 6am Sunday.


They will then stay in your house for close to 30 minutes as you fill the questionnaire.

Going through social media, the conversation is the same, some netizens have are not yet convinced of their safety during the exercise.

This is out of fear that criminal gangs are likely to advantage of the situation to rob members of the public.

Here are some of the things that many Kenyans fear will give them sleepless nights during census:


“Am I going to stop watching Arsenal’s entertaining game against Liverpool just to wait for census guys to create disturbance in my room asking questions that they could have asked during huduma number shenanigans?” tweeted @GeoffreyNyong

“Wait, so a bunch of strangers have the legal right to walk into your house, look through every room, ask deeply personal questions, and if you get offended or obstruct them in any way you are fined 100K and/or jailed for up to a year?”@AlanMwendwa asked.

“Btw no one is boycotting census, guys are just questioning the motive behind carrying out the plan at night especially on a Sunday when 3/4 of Kenyans are at home during the day. I would def understand someone having a problem opening doors for a stranger at midnight,” posted @SirAlexas.

“How can a grown man or woman be inspired to be home by 8:00? My worry is why the census is taking place at night… usiku ni ya mwizi, mbwa na polisi. How do I open my door to a stranger at night? am I supposed to let them in my house? How safe is it for me as a woman?” asked @Onorpik.

“My neighbour has said when I come for enumeration on the Census night atashout tu Niko mmoja na arudi kulala,” @_KateSewe commented.

“Closure of bars isn’t enough. We need a public holiday declared so that we can be counted properly and safely during the day. The night census poses a lot of security risks and criminals will impersonate census staff to perpetrate crime. Most of us are busy at night with women,” @AlexOkwaro said.