By Musa Bashir
Wajir Governor Mohamed Abdi has told Kenyans not to be surprised if the Somali population records a sharp increase in the 2019 census.
Speaking after he was counted by census enumerators on Sunday, Governor Abdi said the community’s population is expected to record a spike compared to the results of the controversial 2009 census.
“Because our people (somali community) are allowed to marry four wives, people should not be surprised about the population of the community. Our records should be taken as a true record,” said Mr Abdi.
According to the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey 2015/16, Wajir County has the biggest families in Kenya, followed by Mandera and Garissa counties.
Wajir has on average 6.6 children per family, while Mandera and Garissa counties have 6.4 and 5.5 children per family respectively.
The 2015/16 survey revealed that Somali families are at least twice as big as families in Kiambu, Mombasa, Nairobi and Nyeri counties.
Many of Kenya’s Somali’s originate from Wajir, Mandera and Garissa counties.
In the 2009 census, the government temporarily cancelled results from several constituencies in North Eastern Province over ‘anomalies.
But the Planning minister, Mr Wycliffe Oparanya, later released the results following pressure from North Eastern leaders.
Some of the affected constituencies included Lagdera, Mandera Central, Wajir East and Mandera West.
Data on the ethnic make-up of Kenya is quite sensitive, especially since tribal arithmetic is often included in political machinations and information is used for resource allocation.