AT least 98% of households in urban centres and about 93% in rural areas had been counted by mid-day yesterday in the on-going national census, Zimbabwe Statistics Agency (ZimStat) director general Mutasa Dzinotizei has said.
Report by our staff
The census started on August 18 and is expected to end Monday.
“There have been a lot of positive developments in the exercise so far countrywide. About 98% of households and other areas have been covered in urban areas owing to the availability of transport and mobility,” said Dzinotizei. “Between 92 to 95% of people in rural areas have been counted.”
The census is Zimbabwe’s fourth since 1980, with the last one carried out 10 years ago, putting the population at about 12 million.
Government is expected to spend US$37 million on the census exercise and 30 000 enumerators were recruited for the process.
However, the exercise kicked off to a bad start after it was marred by chaos and confusion in several parts of the country as security forces demanded to be included in the enumeration exercise.
Upon failing to get things their way, security forces then locked up the census stations and blocked any business related to the exercise from getting underway.
Government workers, who were meant to be recruited into the process, were ordered to disperse by armed police.
The soldiers defied a directive by their Commander-in-Chief, Pre-sident Robert Mugabe, to withdraw from the census programme as they continued to invade centres where enumerators were being trained. Cabinet had barred soldiers and intelligence operatives from taking over the population enumeration and Mugabe reportedly sent a circular to confirm the decision, but soldiers continued to swarm the training centres.
It only took the intervention of Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi and Home affairs co-ministers, Kembo Mohadi and Theresa Makone for the soldiers to comply with the directive.
A census is critical for national development as it provides policymakers and civil society with reliable and accurate data on the composition of the country’s population for purposes of appropriate interventions.