ZimStat director, enumerators clash over allowances

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BY NIZBERT MOYO
A WAR of words has erupted between the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency (ZimStat) director-general Taguma Mahonde and enumerators who took part in the 2022 national housing and population census over non-payment of allowances.

The enumerators are accusing Mahonde of insulting them for demanding their dues.

They told NewsDay that the ZimStat director-general’s attitude was unfortunate.

Bulawayo provincial medical director Maphios Siamuchembu, who was also one of the supervisors during the census, said they had four districts in Bulawayo which were supposed to get about 50% of their allowances paid by April 25, while the balance was supposed to be cleared by May 1.

Siamuchembu said nothing was paid to them.

In a heated exchange of words on WhatsApp seen by NewsDay, Siamuchembu and Mahonde argued over non-payment of the allowances.

“I can only explain something to people with honour, who do not approach me pretending to be representing a constituency. I don’t need respect from people who pretend to be what they are not,” Mahonde ranted after being asked about the non-payment of the allowances.

This prompted Siamuchembu to hit back: “Dear DG (director-general) sir… I was asked in my capacity as a district co-ordinator for your exercise in April. I am a medical practitioner, a specialist surgeon and a provincial medical director. I was in the census exercise at the request of your organisation and as a service to my country. I did not apply to be a level 1 supervisor or co-ordinator. I did not, still do not, need the stress, dishonesty and peanuts from ZimStat as a means of a living.

“So please do not insult me. I do not appreciate it. I am only talking to you because I care about the people I led during the exercise. I care about humans for being humans. As their leader, I owe them answers. I will not tolerate insults, from you or from anyone.’’

He added: “People are asking for their enumeration. What should I say to them?”

Mahonde answered back: “You are not entitled to answer them as they entered into a contract with ZimStat. They should approach ZimStat.”

The ZimStat boss went on to say that all enumerators have access to the ZimStat district and Siamuchembu should not speak on their behalf.

“It is sad that ZimStat is led by someone with such an attitude. You would have not lost my respect had you just explained the problem and pointed out that you do not know when the money is coming,” Siamuchembu said.

Mahonde confirmed to NewsDay yesterday that the census enumerators had not been paid yet. Government had availed US$98 million for the 2022 census.

“The government is working on that, they have not been paid, they are no longer releasing money as they used to, maybe they are trying to tame inflation and that is my understanding,’’ Mahonde said.

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