The government will deploy over 600 security officers to all four sub-counties in Taita-Taveta County in readiness for the Kenya National Population and Housing (KNHP) census exercise that kicks off later this month.
Speaking during a briefing for to the County Census Committee at Voi over the weekend, the County Police Commander (CPC), Saidi Kiprotich said the officers will be distributed according to security needs of specific enumeration zones.
The four sub-counties are Voi, Mwatate, Wundanyi and Taveta.
Kiprotich said that an operation order was already in place and officers briefed on their roles, adding that police patrols would also be intensified to ensure the exercise went on smoothly.
However, he pointed out that such deployment will not affect the normal service delivery by security agencies to the public.
“This is a very crucial exercise and we are set to provide security for the officials who will conduct the census,” he stated.
The CPC said they were still assessing the possible disruptors of the exercise in the region. Top among the identified risks are the threats from wildlife in some areas where incidences of human-wildlife conflict have been reported in the past.
Kiprotich further warned residents to be vigilant of criminals who might be posing as census agents.
The County Statistics Officer, Francis Mwandembo said the content supervisors had already been trained on their roles. The one-week intensive training programme was done in Voi at Coast Institute of Technology (CIT).
Mwandembo, who is also the secretary to the County Census Committee, added that enumerators would be trained in their respective divisions.
The census exercise will be conducted by 1011 conventional enumerators, 178 content supervisors and 20 ICT supervisors in the county.
He further said that staff who will conduct the census exercise will have identification badges, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) reflector jackets and will be accompanied by a village elder.
“Our staff for the exercise will be recognizable because they will have identification documents,” he noted.
There are also provisions for counting hundreds of commuters and truckers who will be using the busy Nairobi-Mombasa Highway on the night of August 24.
Mwandembo said other special populations that have been factored in, include herders in the ranches and other remote areas like the mining zones.
The County Commissioner (CC), Rhoda Onyancha said so far she was satisfied with preparations for the census exercise.
She disclosed that the county security committee would deliberate to make a decision on whether it will be prudent to regulate the drinking hours on that day.
“We will decide on whether the pubs and bars we have in the county will close early to ensure as many people as possible are at home to be counted,” Onyancha said.
The exercise will start at 6 pm.
By Wagema Mwangi