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Bungoma residents have been told to ignore rumours about the biometric census that will be done in August.

Senate Speaker Kenneth Wetang’ula and Bungoma Governor Moses Wetang’ula on Saturday said claims that the registration is meant to catch criminals and home breakers is a lie.

“Some people are lying that the biometric kit is meant to catch men who lure other people’s wives. It is not true that immediately you touch the machine you will be arrested. Let people come out in large numbers for the census,” Wetang’ula said.

He said the people spreading the lies “are from Nairobi” who have an ill motive. They do not want the Luhyas, whom he said are large in number, to lead in the census.

The leaders spoke on Saturday during the funeral of former police officer Mzee Cebastine Kimuna at Mukhweya village in Kabuchai constituency, Bungoma. He formerly served as Bungoma South police boss.

Wetang’ula told the community to be wary of the lies meant to scare them away. He said Luhyas must prove they are the most populous community by participating in the census.

“Even if there is a mad man somewhere in a market or in a thicket, ensure you take him to be counted,” Wetang’ula said.

The Ford Kenya leader said if the Mulembe nation tops in numbers, it stands a better chance of producing the fifth President in 2022.

“The numbers of our community will give me respect and strength in my presidential bid,” he said.

Wetang’ula said if Luhyas emerge as the majority when he sits down with leaders like Raila Odinga, Uhuru Kenyatta and Kalonzo Musyoka he will have a larger stake politically.

The 2019 National Population and Housing Census will be done digitally by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics.

The bureau is set to acquire at least 165,000 mobile devices for the drive.

Speaker Lusaka told Bungoma residents to participate fully in the census.

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He said the census will determine how national resources are shared based on the population.

“Even in Parliament for any bill to be successful it has to be passed by the majority in the House hence the significance of numbers,” he said.

Lusaka told politicians from the region to cooperate to achieve development. He said the people will not benefit from their titles but rather their services.

This will be the eighth census in Kenya’s history. The exercise is done every 10 years.

The last census 2009 put Kenya’s population at 38,610,097. The August census will be the first under the devolved system.

The census provides statistical information on the size, distribution, and characteristics of Kenya’s population.

Among the key indicators to be collected include fertility, mortality, labour, education and people living with disabilities.

The government will also use the census to monitor the level of achievement of internationally agreed programmes such as Sustainable Development Goals.

They include status on eradication of poverty, provision of clean water and sanitation, quality education, good health and zero hunger amongst the populations.

Currently, cartographic mapping, a process of dividing the whole country into smaller units called enumeration areas, is ongoing.

Recruitment for census personnel will begin in June. Some 135, 000 enumerators, 27,000 content supervisors and 2,700 ICT supervisors will be hired.

They will be assisted by security officials, village elders and coordinators.

At the same time, Wetang’ula also urged residents to be prepared for a referendum that will change the Constitution to make it more friendly to “Wanjiku”.

Westlands MP Tim Wanyonyi, Kabuchai MP James Mukwe, Bungoma Knut secretary general Ken Ng’ang’a and politician Evans Kakai were present at the funeral.

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