The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Census Kicks Off

THE First Family will be the first private household to be counted this morning in the fourth population census that was expected to start at midnight yesterday. Enumerators were set to start by counting those in transit at borders and airports and those living in charitable institutions by midnight.

They were also expected to count those living on the streets before turning to private households.

President Mugabe, who is also the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and his family, is set to be counted at 8am.

Vice President Joice Mujuru and Vice President Landa John Nkomo's families would be counted next.

The enumerators will then count Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's family before opening the process to all private households.

Population Census manager Mr Washington Mapeta said yesterday that all was set for the census.

"At midnight, we will start counting those in transit, like in buses, trains, at airports leaving the country and the homeless, while private holders would start to be counted at 8.30am after the First Family has been counted at 8am," he said.

Mr Mapeta said those that were out of the country on 17 and 18 August would not be counted in line with international population census standards.

"However, those who are known to be out of the country on official duty like The Head of State and Government and his team would obviously be counted," he said.

Mr Mapeta said while there had been some technical hitches, the census was expected to be successful.

"We had a small challenge regarding T-shirts and bibs for our enumerators, but we are attending to it because we want all our officers to go into the field putting on the regalia," said Mr Mapeta.

"The problem of vehicles was a challenge, but we are happy to say that it has now been solved."

Mr Mapeta said his office had not yet received any major challenges.

The census is expected to run from August 17 to 27. President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Muta-mbara officially launched the 2012 population census in Harare this week.

In his address at the launch, President Mugabe urged the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency to carry out the population census transparently to erase any doubt of the outcome.

The census was hit by problems of recruitment, with the training of enumerators being postponed for two days because of chaos at training venues.

The Government intervened and laid the rules which resulted in the bulk of the enumerators being recruited from teachers.

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