6 August 2012

Zimbabwe: Tensions Rise Over Army and CIO Role in Census

Photo: Ephraim Nsingo/IPS
Voting (file photo): Mr Mapeta said enumerators and supervisors who took part in the 12-day exercise would be paid part of the money while Government mobilises resources to pay outstanding funds.

Members of the army, police and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) are secretly being recruited to take charge of the upcoming national population census that will likely determine the constituency boundaries for the general next election.

A teacher told SW Radio Africa there was crowd trouble at Gokwe Centre on Monday, as nearly 800 people who registered to be employed by the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency blocked the route of an Education Officer (EO) attempting to drive away. They had been camped there waiting to hear if they were going to be employed in the census.

The EO's are the one's who compile the lists of people who will participate in a four day training workshop before they conduct the actual counting of people, which will take 2 days. Despite being told the list would be out last week this did not happen.

"Schools closed on Wednesday, so teachers and headmasters who will be enumerating were advised to check their names at the district office on Wednesday. So when we went to check there was nothing. We were asked to check Thursday, Saturday and now Monday, nothing," the teacher said.

It's reported those working during the census will receive $90 daily allowances plus a flat fee of $800. Our source in Gokwe however said: "These are just rumours; no one is sure what the figures will be. Some say it will be $20 per day." But the exercise is offering poorly paid civil servants a chance to supplement their income.

"We have come here with our bags in case we get picked and the training takes four days," the source said. He said they are worried that a large number of soldiers and known CIO's, numbering nearly 300, could be seen milling around and openly telling them "we don't trust you and we are the ones who will run this exercise."

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said they had received reports of ZANU PF attempts to monopolise the process in Zaka, Masvingo and Manicaland. Deputy Justice Minister Obert Gutu, an MDC-T senator, said the 'screening process' was targeting people perceived to be supporters of the MDC-T.

According to Finance Minister Tendai Biti the census data is meant to be used by the government 'to serve the people effectively' and not be used for political means.

The census will take place on August 17 and 18 will cost $37 million. Government also said it would verify the number of Zimbabweans living in exile, although no information has been published to indicate how they plan to achieve this.

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