BY BLESSED MHLANGA
GOVERNMENT says it has scaled up preparations for the national census, with 55% of the country already mapped to enable delimitation of constituencies ahead of the 2023 general elections.
This was announced yesterday by Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa during a post-Cabinet media briefing, where she said the actual counting of the population would commence in April next year.
“The census is a constitutional requirement for the delimitation of constituency boundaries by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec). Government assures the nation that, in spite of preparations for the exercise having been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the country remains on course to conduct the census within the prescribed timeframe for the 2023 elections,” Mutsvangwa said.
“The Local Government and Public Works ministry is expected to conclude the boundary proclamations for wards, districts and provinces in order to ensure that enumeration areas are correctly assigned. Thereafter, the census field mapping exercise can be finalised before actual enumeration proceeds.
“Census field mapping involves subdividing the whole country into smaller geographical units called enumeration areas with an average of 80 to 120 households. Cabinet is pleased to report that 55% of the country has so far been successfully mapped, despite up to 10 months of programmed time having been lost to COVID-19 restrictions,” she said.
Mutsvangwa said ZimStat would go paperless during the census enumeration exercise, adding that this would be the first time Zimbabwe would use the paperless computer- assisted personal interview technique.
“More than one pilot census will be run to test the technology, with re-tests being conducted. This will last up to the first quarter of 2022. The actual population census will, therefore, start in April 2022, with the census results expected in August 2022, paving way for the constituency delimitation in October 2022 (December 31, 2022 being the last day allowed for delimitation),” she said.
On COVID-19, Mutsvangwa said all citizens returning to Zimbabwe would be quarantined at their own expense, adding that those found positive for COVID-19 would also be isolated at their own expense.