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By Hon. Billow Kerrow 

In the Kenya 2019 Census guidelines used by the enumerators, there is an attempt to cause confusion in some ethnic communities. The objective behind such data is unclear. Among the data the Government is collecting in the Census questionnaire is the tribe. Kenya has 42 tribes. Whilst the tribe is listed for most communities, for some like the Somali tribe, the Government has listed the clans and sub-tribes which will not only cause confusion but disenfranchise those whose clans or sub-tribes may not have been listed. 

Clans have no bearing on the country’s demographic structure, nor will the Government use clans in its development plans, resource allocation or appointments. 

Somalis, like Kikuyu, Luo, Kamba, Masai, etc should have been identified as such. The government should not have allowed such confusion. We are one community and such division in official government records will undermine our unity and cause discord. 

Still, I urge Somalis to register themselves as Kenyan Somalis under its relevant code and ignore the clans. When the results of the census are published, the government will announce the population of Kenyan Somalis, not our clans.

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In the 2009 Census, Somalis were 2.390 million, out of which only 70,000 was recorded to have been counted outside Mandera, Wajir and Garissa counties. It is inconceivable that Somalis in the rest of the country could be only 70,000. Still, the Government attempted to cancel the Census results for the THREE counties which was quashed by the Courts. 

With the country’s population estimated to hit 52 million according to UN estimates, Somali population in the 3 counties alone will likely surpass 4 million, based on the fertility/growth rate in 2009 Census reports published by the Government, which is the highest in the country. 

Folks, let us register as Kenyan Somalis, not our clans! 

Hon. Billow Kerrow is former Mandera County Senator.

About Whispers from the North

Whispers from the North is an online platform that appreciates the ecological, cultural and socio-economic diversities of Northern Kenya. We also acknowledge that the lives of the communities of northern Kenya has been shaped by a number of intrinsic and extrinsic factors which have led to complex challenge that calls for a multifaceted approach.

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