The chaos that threatens to derail the national population census could be an indication that Zimbabwe is headed for a violent referendum on the new constitution and elections, analysts said yesterday.
On Tuesday and yesterday, suspected soldiers reportedly disrupted the induction of enumerators for this year’s census across the country, defying a government directive to stay away from the process.
In separate interviews, the analysts said the events surrounding the disruptions were disturbing.
Effie Ncube, who is coordinator of the Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda, said the developments were confirmation of the “militarisation of the State”.
“This is confirmation of what we have said that there has been militarisation of the State, the military wants to run this country,” he said.
“We have always said the army has taken over the country and are now de facto rulers and are now playing a role in the running of the country.”
He said the same situation could prevail during elections.
Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association co-ordinator Rodrick Fayayo said the developments confirmed that there could be some elements in the army who wanted to cause anarchy.
“We need Defence minister (Emmerson Mnangagwa) to call these people to order.
“We actually wonder where the superiors are when the members of the army are doing such things or maybe these are some people masquerading as the army,” Fayayo said.
Political analyst Zenzele Ndebele said: “This probably shows that if the army can do this in a census they can do it in an election and referendum.
“Where are their leaders? The army is supposed to be disciplined.”
The analysts said the results of the census would not show an accurate picture on the number of people, especially in Matabeleland as a number of them had moved to South Africa and other countries in search for jobs.
Fayayo said: “History has shown us that there has always been under-counting of the number of people of Matabeleland for reasons best known to those who conduct the census.
“That is why the army is making so much noise because they operate on orders and it is easy for them to follow instructions to undercount the people of Matabeleland.”
Ncube added that the results would be fraudulent as “they won’t reflect the number of people in Matabeleland because the economic and political marginalisation of the region forced the people to go and work in other countries”.
“This will be used to give the region little resources in the national budget.”