Census: First Family counted 

Source: Census: First Family counted | The Herald

Census: First Family countedThe President participates in the census enumeration of the First Family conducted at State House in Harare yesterday.

Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter

THE 2022 population and housing census kicked off yesterday with the counting of President Mnangagwa and the First Family at State House in Harare amid calls for Zimbabweans to co-operate with enumerators as the exercise is important for national development.

Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency statistician, Assistant Commissioner (Retired) Mukoka Kureva, conducted the census of the First Family.

Briefing journalists soon after the exercise, Zimstat director general Mr Taguma Mahonde implored members of the public to emulate the First Family and take part in the population and housing census, which started yesterday, and will run until the end of the month.

“For any development planning, the process has to be informed by numbers. You need to know the age categories within the country so that you plan accordingly for various social service deliveries like provision of education and health. So it is important that policies be informed by statistics,” said Mr Mahonde.

“We are delighted that His Excellency, the President, gave us an opportunity to do this enumeration. This shows that when the First Family has time for such an exercise, it is important. Accordingly, I call upon all Zimbabweans to co-operate with our enumerators. This exercise is national and non-segregative and the information you provide is treated with the necessary confidentiality.”

On Wednesday, Zimstat convened marches in all major cities and towns across the country as the culmination of an advance publicity programme to urge everyone to ensure that their households are counted.

Enumerators have from yesterday been moving across communities and towns, knocking on doors and asking for the data on who spent census night (20 April) in each household. 

They have identity cards that will ensure easy identification.

Harare residents hailed the census saying it was critical for planning.

Mr Fibion Kuimba Spinyu welcomed the exercise saying Government should know how many people are in the country.

“The census is a good exercise that helps the Government to plan for development. It enables us to know how many people are living in a certain house and we should also know the total number of people living in our country,” he said.

Mrs Bration Musengezi said she was happy with the way the census was being conducted as the enumerators were carrying out their duties professionally.

“We are happy that the enumerators are talking to us nicely and we appreciate that. They are also providing us with information that we require about the census,” she said.

Mrs Millicent Makombera also hailed the exercise.

“I will co-operate and provide all the necessary information when the enumerators come. I should participate in such noble exercises because they benefit us as a nation,” she said.

In Kariba, the first day was significantly affected by heavy rains that pounded the resort town from Wednesday.

The enumerators started later in the day when the rains subsided.

“The process was affected by heavy rains in Kariba for the better part of the day. Apart from that the enumerators are ready and have all the gadgets needed, including Ipads and tablets,” said one of the enumerators who declined to be named.

In Matabeleland South, the census kicked off as scheduled although some areas could not be reached by enumerators due to ongoing rains. 

The provincial statistician, Mr Munyaradzi Bote, said they had decided to start the process in the rural areas drifting towards urban settlements. 

“Everything is going according to plan in all the seven administrative districts,” said Mr Bote. 

“The process is being slowed down by the ongoing rains in some areas where enumerators cannot reach out to everyone.  However, we are fully prepared and we hope to have covered every place in Matabeleland South at the end of the programme,” he said. 

In Mashonaland Central, counting started well and the enumerators covered some ground.  

Shamva district deployed its census teams to Goora at Johane Masowe eChishanu Vadzidzi VaJesu to enumerate thousands of pilgrims who are gathered for the church’s annual meeting.

As of yesterday, only one of the nine wards in Kariba Urban, Ward 2, did not have the Ipads but the enumerators were expected to receive them.

Meanwhile, the population and housing census kicked off flawlessly in Masvingo with enumerators’ task made easier by the technological gadgets they are using.

Enumerators hit the ground running and managed to cover considerable ground across the city.

Zimstat provincial spokesperson Mr Rodgers Irimayi said no challenges were encountered during the first day of the exercise.

“We started our exercise very well and everyone was up and running during the day with no challenges having been reported so far. We also utilised the programme of the First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa (who is on a visit to her projects in Masvingo) to engage chiefs from the province to go and disseminate information on the census,” he said.

During the census, data is collated, to know for example how many women aged 40-45 living in Harare have post-graduate education, but the names and addresses of those people remain confidential.

This door-knocking and questioning will continue until Saturday next week, enough time for the enumerators to track down all householders, so that all the data is entered into the enumerator gadgets and then downloaded to the ZimStat database.

The results are expected a lot more quickly this year with enumerators recording electronic data that can be downloaded rather than having paper returns punched into the database.

The information that will come from population and housing census is also expected to be used for delimitation of constituencies by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

The Census and Statistics Act, passed by Parliament in 2020, seeks to align the taking of decennial national census in a manner that takes into account census data.

It also allows ZEC to delimit seats for the 2023 presidential, parliamentary and local authority polls in a manner that reflects the present population distribution premised on the latest census data.

Constituencies are supposed to be of equal size within modest limits caused by provincial and district boundaries, but the continued movement of people has the effect of altering that distribution.

Since the last delimitation, land reform has seen a major redistribution of the rural population coupled with rural-urban migration.