They beg for money, and now beg to be counted. Are they condemned to a life of begging? Most street beggars within the Nairobi CBD have been ignored in the ongoing census. They want to be counted.
This is despite government promises that everybody would be counted regardless of age, status, religion and race.
Speaking to the Star, the beggars said not even their relatives had considered their involvement in the census.
“We have not been counted. We are operating as if we are not Kenyan,” one of the street beggars said.
The beggars were still on the streets and had not gathered anywhere to be counted.
“I came here in the morning but you know even those enumerators who pass here ignore us completely because they think we shall beg for money,” another one said, urging the government to ensure they are counted before the end of the exercise.
They said they should be included and it was not fair that others are counted but they are left out.
“Kindly if you can assist us in any way, let it be known that we have not been counted,” another beggar said.
Edwin Kilunde, an enumerator in Nairobi, said it would be difficult to count persons living on the streets because they have no permanent residence.
Census officials would not know for sure whether such persons may not have been counted elsewhere already.
Kilunde said the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics set up centres in Nairobi where persons are counted, including Kayole, Shauri Moyo and Joseph Kang’ethe.
Enumerators headed to people’s homes from Saturday night to begin the count that will last until August 31.
Apart from homes census officials visited hotels, prisons and hospitals to count inmates.