Group allege manipulation of figures as schoolchildren number, voters population tell a different story.
They argued it is not statistically possible the community’s population has only increased by 400,000 in 10 years. Experts and political observers agree that the Somali community is turning to be the next big thing on matters of numbers.
The Somali community has said they are more the 2.7 million declared by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics Friday. The community is challenging the 2019 census results in court on grounds the figures may have been doctored. Sources told the Star that the litigants intend to attach birth records to prove the numbers stated by KNBS are incorrect. MPs Ahmed Kolosh (Wajir West) and Abdi Shurie (Balambala) said yesterday that the community is also not happy about being referred to as “Kenyan Somali.”
They argued it is not statistically possible the community’s population has only increased by 400,000. In 2009, the count showed 2.3 million Somalis. “We are not agreeing with what happened. In 2009, Balambala had 97,000 people and now we are 30,000. It doesn’t make sense,” Shurie said. He says the figure stated is even less than the number of schoolgoing children as recorded by the Ministry of Education and registered voters. The official figure of schoolgoing children from MOE is 16,000 while registered voters are about 22,000.
“Weirder is that out of the figure stated, we are told there are 10,000 women and the rest are men. It is impossible yet they are saying the birthrate is 6.5 per cent,” Shurie added. He added that had the KNBS given the real figure, the community would be in the top four. “The fact that they were able to doctor and not get us below number six sends a message. Kolosh said he accompanied the enumerators and recorded over 265,000 people only for the report to show they are 121,000.
“Apart from this, we are annoyed with the statement of ‘Kenyan Somali’. Why don’t we call the Maasai as Kenyan Maasai.”Despite the protest, experts and political observers agree that the Somali community is turning to be the next big thing on matters numbers. Figures from the 2019 count show that Somalis have joined the league of big tribes – Meru, Maasai, and Kisii; hence a swing vote.
ODM chairman John Mbadi, Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya and Charles Nyambuga of Maseno University all agree the community cannot be wished away. Mbadi said the vote would count if the country continues under a presidential system as they would be a swing constituency. “Since the five big communities are the ones that produce candidates and running mates, they are likely to fall back on Somalis, Merus, Maasais, and Kisiis.”
“Though in the BBI process, ethnic numbers will not yield much, the population presents a paradigm shift which we can’t ignore,” the Suba South MP said. Oparanya said the numbers will propel the community to better bargains in terms of state jobs and development. “The fact that there is BBI, everybody is trying to get a piece of the cake. With their unity, they are poised to get plum positions in the government. Nyambuga said the community cannot be ignored and politician will now have to keep tabs on what they want.
“Their numbers tell tales that in terms of resources, they will have to get more. It will even get higher because their leaders are encouraging more births,” the don said.
Source: The Star, Kenya