The census began today, Saturday, 24th August, 2019 at 5 p.m., but does it have any basis in law?
The Statistics Bill
One and half weeks ago, President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law the Statistics (Amendment) Bill and the Accreditation Service Bill, at State House, Nairobi.
The Statistics (Amendment) Bill, which is now an Act of law, aims at streamlining the management of statistical information at national and county levels by ensuring data collection and processing is conducted in accordance with international best practices and standards.
The new statistics law also expands the mandate of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics by aligning state agency to the provisions of the 2010 constitution.
The new Accreditation Service Act establishes the Kenya National Accreditation Service as the sole national agency charged with the responsibility of managing accreditation services in the country.
The law, which repeals the Kenya Accreditation Service Order of 2009, establishes a robust framework for the establishment of an internationally recognized accreditation system aimed at strengthening international recognition of Kenyan products.
Data Protection Laws
Kenyans have continued to express concerns over the lack of a data protection law to safeguard against misuse of data collected since the time people were being registered under Huduma Namba.
Amnesty International had expressed concerns over why the national Identity card and passport numbers were required in the census. The government casually replied stating that , ‘this census will be different from the previous ones’, where data will be collected through, ‘tablet computer’, and that this ‘guarantees security and speed of data processing and analysis’.
Despite the government’s assurance, this still remains a sticky issue as many people online, as seen by Kenyan Business Feed, say they will not accept to be counted.
The state on the other side has resorted to issuing threats; Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i announced that anyone who will give false information or fail to be counted risks being fined up to Ksh. 500,000, or jailed for a year or both.
Kenyan Business Feed notes that the serious issue of data protection still persist.
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