Census programme in slow start

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BY KUDAKWASHE TAGWIREYI/ Patricia Sibanda
THE 2022 population and housing census kicked off yesterday to a slow start, with enumerators telling NewsDay that they were still waiting for delivery of the tools of trade such as tablets and identity cards.

This year’s census, which will run until April 30, will use digitised computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) techniques in data collection.

“We failed to begin work as we are incapacitated and do not have the necessary tablets,” one of the enumerators said.

In one area in Ruwa, the enumerators said they had not received identification cards, tablets and other materials in order to begin work.

Some of the enumerators also revealed that they had not received their allowances after they attended the ZimStats enumeration training a fortnight ago.

“We still have no tablets, yet we are supposed to begin enumeration today. We have also not been issued with call-back cards,” another enumerator said.

Enumerators in other parts of the country said they could be turned away at some households as they did not have level 3 identity cards.

Lack of identity cards for enumerators comes at a time when people in the country were warned to be wary of thieves that might masquerade as census enumerators to gain entry to premises.

“We do not know when we will get our level 3 ID cards as expected. Some households are refusing census enumerators access to their premises because they saw adverts that stated that enumerators have IDs. Without tablets, we don’t know how enumeration will take place,” yet another enumerator said.

In Goromonzi, some enumerators were reportedly sent home and told that they would be called back as soon as tablets were made available by colleagues who had them.

In Bulawayo, where officials said they would be including truck drivers and the homeless in the enumeration exercise, ZimStats statistician Caroline Mbambo said: “We came up with a plan that those given faulty tablets will conduct the exercise at night using paper questionnaires and enter the data into the system after collecting the information.”

ZimStats spokesperson Mercy Chidemo told NewsDay that they would investigate the problems allegedly experienced by the enumerators.

“However, we haven’t received any negative responses from them or reports of any challenges that they are facing from their supervisors. What we know is that everyone is being counted,” she said.

ZimStats director-general Taguma Mahonde assured NewsDay that there were enough tablets to facilitate the CAPI system of enumeration.

“The tablets are there and you can be rest assured that they are plenty, so we don’t know what they are doing with them and we are going to issue a statement soon about the matter,” he said.

Despite assurances by ZimStats that everything was in order, Mutasa South ward 25 village head David Kanjanda told NewsDay that in his, village not single ZimStat enumerator was seen yesterday.

“We haven’t seen any one of the enumerators yet in our wards, and ZimStats never visited us to raise awareness of the census. We did not see any fliers advertising the census,” Kanjanda said.

In cities and other places in the country, ZimStats embarked on roadshows to raise awareness and launch the 2022 census.

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