Kenyans react to Matiangi’s order to close bars during census

Fred Matiang'i at Embu Stadium

Matiang’i caused quite the uproar in the country on Wednesday by declaring all bars and entertainment joints to be closed during the census period. According to the CS for the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Security in Kenya, all social places will be closed as of 5:00 p.m on both Saturday and Sunday. This he claims is a way of ensuring everybody including staff working in those places are at home by 6:00 PM which is when the counting officially begins.


The 2019 Census

In his  speech at Embu Stadium, he also announced there will be no public holiday on Monday (rolls eyes). What a bummer right? The Cabinet secretary gave two reasons why.  First, since the exercise was happening at night there was no need for a holiday. The other reason was that since independence, no other census has been followed by a public holiday so why should this one be different ? We, however, beg to differ. The 2019 census is like no other census held in the country before. For one, it is the first paperless census to ever be conducted in Kenya.

Two, this particular census will see the government include a third gender marker to accommodate intersex people. This as it continues to make efforts to be the first African country to adopt into the law intersex identity. Previous censuses only had 2 markers, male or female. This left the over 700,000 intersex individuals forced to tick a box they didn’t really associate with.  For three, it is the first census conducted after the enactment of the 2010 constitution. All these reasons make it special enough to warrant a public holiday. But then again Kuna wananchi na wenye nchi so if Matiang’i says no public holiday, there will be no public holiday.

Kenyans’ Reaction To Matiang’i’s Speech

Kenyans weren’t so happy with the cancelation of the alleged public holiday. The shut down of bars, however, left them enraged.  The biggest blowback has been from the ordinary football lovers. Arsenal supporters with no DSTV to be specific who were eagerly waiting for their game against Liverpool game at 7:30 pm.


Other people have other reasons why they are against the exercise. These include security concerns and sticking it to the man. Some claim they will be busy making babies to be counted in the next census. Oh well, you know how Kenyans are?.

My advice is since it’s illegal not to participate, prepare early. You can stream the game online through apps such as Navix Sports or sites such as totalsportek among other football streaming sites.  You can also be wise and stock up on all the booze you will need beforehand like Honorable Chepkut.



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