It is a bit funny that this is a major issue. I understand the drive to separate tribal identities and create a more cohesive nation, but for the sake of a census I find it a bit silly for people to call for the question about tribe to be removed. Also, how great is the picture that goes with the article?
Controversy over inclusion of tribal identity in census
By SAMUEL SIRINGIPosted Saturday, June 27 2009 at 21:03
- The question of tribe in the forthcoming national population census has put government officials and donors on a collision course after the officials defied the donors who have demanded that the question be struck out of the questionnaire
- Government ignores donor concerns that ethnic question in August population census will derail efforts towards national healing
A spirited attempt to block a census question that would make it possible for Kenyans to know the number of people in each of the country’s 42 tribes has been rejected even as it emerged that the government was planning to deploy monitors to help prevent rigging of the August national census.
Donors wanted the question dropped from the official census questionnaire on grounds that it will frustrate efforts towards national healing after last year’s bloody post-election violence.
The donors argued that the question will evoke memories of the killings, many of which were attributed to tensions between tribes following the disputed presidential election. Some 1,300 people were killed while 350,000 were displaced in the violence.
Ministry of Planning officials have decided to press on with the questionnaire bearing the tribe question, arguing that fears that it was too emotive were overblown.
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics director general Anthony Kilele confirmed the donor concerns.
“They thought it might not be good for us to ask people about their tribes when they have not healed (from the deadly post-election violence),” he said.
But Mr Kilele said the donors’ fears had been proved wrong since the question had been answered well during a pilot census survey ahead of the Sh7.3 billion national count.
“We have established that all Kenyans are comfortable with answering the tribe question,” he said.
“The data (on tribe) is of good statistical value,” he said. “It will allow us to know better who we are, rather than relying on generalities.”
The donors had argued that it would be difficult for the results to be trusted if some of the results on the tribe numbers were disputed.
Their case was based on the reasoning that politicians and their communities would want to show that their tribes were more populous than the rest, in a bid to benefit more from devolved funds such as Constituency Development Fund, which are calculated on the basis of the number of people in each constituency.