Some Zimbabweans have expressed anger that schools across the country were forced to close early this week, to accommodate the national census.
The census is meant to get underway in two weeks time and the door-to-door process has been scheduled to run over two days. The listing process will then take another ten days, but the full census results are only expected to be released early next year.
Preparations have been in full swing and this has included a government order for schools to close on Wednesday, a week ahead of the holiday schedule. According to the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency, this was to give teachers time to train as enumerators.
The move has prompted criticism, with some Zimbabweans saying the whole process has been badly planned and poorly managed. Harare teacher Abbiot Moyo was quoted by Voice of America as calling for the government to 'plan better in the future' so students do not have to disrupt their studies unnecessarily.
"The government knew it would conduct a census in 2012 and should have factored this in the school calendar last year," Moyo was quoted as saying, adding: "Most schools in the country were in the process of preparing for mid-term exams with some students laying the groundwork for Ordinary and Advanced Level examinations in November."
There has also been concern raised that not enough people have been informed about the census plans, which could potentially lead to many people being too afraid to hand over their full details ahead of fresh elections, because of the widespread fear that a fresh poll will be hijacked by ZANU PF to ensure a Robert Mugabe victory.
According to Finance Minister Tendai Biti the census data will be used by the government 'to serve the people effectively' and will not be used for political means. Biti told Parliament last month that the census, which will cost $37 million, will also try and verify the number of Zimbabweans living in exile.
There has been no explanation as to how the government plans to do that.
Commentators have also told SW Radio Africa that the results will be used by the political parties in Zimbabwe to "redraw the country's political boundaries" ahead of fresh elections.
The census will be held on August 17 and 18.