THE Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association (BPRA) has denounced the preliminary August 2012 population census results released this week saying people in Matabeleland were deliberately miscounted.
Report by Blondie Ndebele Own Correspondent
Bulawayo City Council has already dismissed the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency (Zimstat) figures that put the city’s population at far less than one million people.
BPRA’s programmes and advocacy manager Emmanuel Ndlovu yesterday said they were baffled by the outcome of the census that put the country’s population at 12,9 million.
In a statement, Ndlovu claimed there was a plot by politicians to “marginalise” Matabeleland region.
“The results may have been tampered with for political reasons as a basis for reducing resource allocations to Matabeleland region which has been marginalised since independence,” he said.
“Population figures are the basis for planning development projects.”
According to Zimstat, Matabeleland North is home to 6% of the country’s population with 743 871 people while Matabeleland South has 5% with 685 046 people.
Bulawayo, with 655 675 people is home to 5% of Zimbabwe’s population that grew by 1,1% in the past decade.
Ndlovu said they suspected there was a sinister motive to allocate the region less resources.
“They may have either been politically manipulated to misrepresent the population in Matabeleland or are a result of incompetency by Zimstat,” he said.
“They are inaccurate and this now authenticates concerns raised by Zimbabweans in August that the methodology used by the agency missed out counting some people.”
Ndlovu said if Bulawayo’s population was indeed lower than it was in 2002, then the city would not be experiencing water woes to the magnitude that has been witnessed this year.
In 2002, Bulawayo’s population was reported to be 676 650.
Contacted for comment, Zimstat census and surveys director Washington Mapeta said if indeed the figures for Matabeleland were wrong, then the national figures would also be incorrect.
“This count was done by the people from that region, unless they had any reasons to undercount Matabeleland region, which means the population for the whole country is wrong,” he said.
“We welcome any scientific evidence on how they have observed that the results are inaccurate.”