Anxiety over 26 MP jobs as census looms – The Star, Kenya

MPs from 26 constituencies at risk of being scrapped for failing the population criteria are burning the midnight oil to save their jobs.

A number of legislators from the affected constituencies are apprehensive their areas will be scrapped should they be found ineligible.

Part of the effort is to rally residents to declare they come from the constituencies no matter where they will be counted during the national census slated for August 24.

Mobilisation campaigns have gained momentum in Mt Kenya, North Eastern and Coast with the leaders asking residents to save the constituencies.

After the 2009 census, a boundary review team led by Andrew Ligale flagged several constituencies as having fallen short of the 133,000 population threshold.

They are Budalang’i (66,723), Bura (82,454), Galole (60,866), Isiolo South (43,110), Kangema (76,988), Keiyo North (73,715), Kilome (87,864), Laisamis (65,669), Lamu East (18,841), Lamu West (82,698), and Marakwet East (78,749).

Others are Mathioya (88,219), Mogotio (60,959), Murkurweini (83,932), Mvita (75,153), Mwatate (75,591), Ndaragwa (92,626), North Horr (75,196), Othaya (87,374), Saku (46,502), Samburu East (59,094), Tetu (78,320), Vihiga (91,616), Voi (86,801), Wundanyi (58,600), and Mbeere North (89,037).

The fate of these, and others that may emerge to have failed the threshold lies in the scheduled national population count.

Already, IEBC has said it will be open to change in the next review, meaning the polls agency would not hesitate to dissolve or merge the constituencies.

Zachary Mwangi, director general Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, last week said there are provisions to count everyone who will spend the night within Kenya’s borders on August 24.

Officers will also administer a digital questionnaire in hospitals, to travellers and street families among other outdoor sleepers.

Despite the assurance, the fear ahead of the count is that the questionnaires – even for a conventional household – may not accurately capture the data of people’s origins.

A low population count would mean some regions, including counties, will have their share of national revenue reduced.

In multiple interviews with the Star, lawmakers yesterday cried foul that they have no control over migration patterns that cost them the numbers.

Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir said his constituency, covering Mombasa CBD, has challenges with night population.

“In terms of people who expect service, Mvita has the highest in the Coast region. The constituency has the highest number of registered voters. Because the cost of living is higher in the town, most people live outside the island,” he said.

Nassir said they will need further interpretation of the law setting the threshold.

Vihiga MP Ernest Kivai said the constituency’s problem is that people are scattered, with some demanding fare when asked to travel home for the count.


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