PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete and his family were among Tanzanians enumerated as the population and housing census kicked off across the country.
Mr Kikwete stressed the need for everybody to be counted and expressed hopes that even those who had initially threatened to boycott the exercise would have their details recorded. The president family's details were recorded at his residence at the State House in Dar es Salaam by the census enumerator, Mr Clement Ngalaba.
The National Commissioner of Census, Ms Amina Mrisho Said, told the 'Daily News' that they were happy with the flow and that they had received encouraging reports from Dar es Salaam and other regions." So far, so good. The start has been good though we have experienced pockets of resistance in some areas and we are using wisdom and increased awareness to counter this challenge," she said.
Ms Said said however that wisdom and education could only be used to some level and that should people continue to resist the exercise, then they will have no choice but to let the long arm of the law take its course. She said that she didn't see the likelihood of that happening because first there were laws against resisting the census but most importantly, President Kikwete on Saturday issued a directive against it.
President Kikwete in his monthly address to the nation over the weekend riled against the few elements that discourage others to take part in the census, saying that this was an unproductive move and should be shunned.
Meanwhile, Issa Yussuf reports from Zanzibar that President Ali Mohammed Shein and his family were among the citizens who were enumerated on Sunday as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) started to conduct the fifth population and housing census.
Details about the first family were recorded as the Zanzibar Chief Government Statistician, Mr Mohammed Hafidh, said that the seven days exercise started well with many people providing good reception to enumerators.
President Shein responded to questions about the size of his family, details of the location of his residence, among others. Both First and Second Vice-Presidents: Seif Sharif Hamad and Ambassador Seif Ali Iddi and their families were among the people counted yesterday morning as the exercise proceeded to other families on both Unguja and Pemba.
Both leaders, in separate occasions, reiterated their call to all Zanzibaris to accept to be counted, and that it "would be a great mistake to ignore the multimillion shillings exercise aiming at updating the population and households details". Every enumerator is tasked to count between 60 and 100 families in seven days, according to Ms Salama Njani - census communication officer in Zanzibar. Zanzibar has about a little more than 250,000 households.
The last census was conducted in 2002, and put the Zanzibar population at 960,000. But recent estimates indicated the population had surpassed 1.2 million. From Sumbawanga, Peti Siyame reports that in an effort to ensure that all street children in Sumbawanga town are counted, the authority in the region prepared and provided them mid-night meals.
The move which was also witnessed by the 'Daily News' successfully served it purposes as many of the street children and others were attracted. The Kantandala ward Census supervisor, Ms Miriam Chang'a, told this paper that the plan to feed the street children at mid night made it possible for them to turn out in large numbers and voluntarily.
Meanwhile, Chadema Director of Communications and Publicity, Mr John Mnyika called on citizens to give utmost support to enumerators as the census would help the government in planning." For citizens an act of boycotting census would mean depriving themselves of opportunities that would have emanated through proper planning by the government which would reflect the real demands of Tanzanians as per the population," he said.