Zim census to go ahead as planned
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THE Government yesterday said it had suspended the training of enumerators for the 2012 population census until further notice but the census itself will proceed as planned from 17-28 August.
The decision comes exactly a week before the country's fourth census kicks off.
In an interview, Acting Minister of Finance Gorden Moyo, said the training was suspended because Cabinet felt that some of the enumerators did not meet the required criteria.
"There have been cases whereby unqualified people were flooding enumeration training centres demanding to be trained . . . therefore we have suspended the training until further notice.
"This decision will ensure that Government gets the right people to do the job," said Minister Moyo.
He said they had reviewed the training of enumerators to ensure that everything was done accordingly.
He, however, said there was no change in the population census dates.
The counting will begin on the midnight of 17 August and will continue the following day to cater for people travelling at night and people living on the streets. It would then continue up to 28 August.
"Here we are saying there are a lot of people that do not meet the criteria, so in a bid to ensure that we have a credible census, we have suspended the training to come up with other ways of ensuring credibility," said Minister Moyo.
He said the Government wanted to meet the United Nations (UN) and Southern African Development Community (Sadc) principles of holding a successful population census.
"We are not going to deviate from how the census has always been run, we have done it three times and we want to assure members of the public that we are going to hold it successfully this time around again," said Minister Moyo.
He said the Government was going to go out of its way to ensure that proper population census procedures were followed.
"Since independence, we have been using a system called defacto population census, which is counting people from where they are and we are going to implement it this year again as we did it in 1982, 1992 and 2002.
â€œWe have enough experience of holding a census and there is no way we can fail this year around," said Minister Moyo.
He acknowledged that the decision would put Government under pressure as they were racing against time.
"We would like to tell members of the public that nothing has changed and the census will take place on the said dates," said Minister Moyo.
"We have suspended training because we need to make sure that all enumerators meet the criterion that we have set and that criterion meets regional and international best practices," he said.
The minister said to be an enumerator one had to have at least a tertiary level qualification and other personal attributes to handle the private information that would be gathered.
Minister Moyo said that the suspension would not affect the quality of training, adding the country already had a number of qualified people that have handled the process before.
â€œIt is not the number of days that are needed on training, it is the quality of training. We have a lot of qualified personnel and most of them have been doing it for years and have experience that is why most of them have been taken from the education sector because they have done these things before,â€ Minister Moyo said.
He said the census was a technical process and had no room for political parties, civic groups or anyone pursuing any other agenda.
Minister Moyo said the security forces would have a role to play in the census.
â€œThe army has always been part of national process. All the security services will have a role to play in protecting the enumerators.
â€œSecondly, they have a role to play in their designated areas. There are areas we do not send civilians to work like police camps. But still those we will take will also have to meet our requirements,â€ he said.
The training of enumerators that was initially suspended on Monday was expected to start on Wednesday, but disruptions marred the resumption.
About 30 000 people are needed to conduct the census.
It is alleged that security forces who are also civil servants had requested to be given a quota.
Allegations of nepotism in the selection of enumerators have also propped up.
The training was supposed to run for 10 days, from 6 August.
Principals in the inclusive Government were also expected to officially launch this yearâ€™s census on 15 August.
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