BY TAPFUMANEI MUCHABAIWA
CENSUS enumerators have complained for being “short-changed” by the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency (ZimStat), which paid them in local currency after they signed contracts stating that they would be paid in United States dollars for participating in the national population and housing census which ran from April 21 to 30.
Census enumerators, who are said to have received $320 000 for 20 days, are also complaining that they have been asked to return the tablets that they used for data collection during the exercise.
They feel that they should have been allowed to keep the gadgets as another census will be held in 10 years, by which time the gadgets would be useless.
A teacher from Chitomborwizi in Makonde, who declined to be named, told NewsDay that enumerators signed for US dollar allowances, but were paid in local currency.
“The $68 per day we signed for at the start of the training programme was in US dollars. However, we were paid in RTGS,” the teacher said.
“We are still waiting for payment of allowances for the counting exercise.”
Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) president Obert Masaraure said they were disturbed by ZimStat’s suspected breach of contract.
Masaraure said Artuz would engage its lawyers to seek redress of the matter.
“We have engaged a team of lawyers to look into the matter and see if indeed there was violation of the contract. The census programme, however, opened the eyes of our teachers to the possibility of a real income for the work they do. Earning $320 000 after working for 20 days inspired a lot of teachers to join the fight for a living wage. They now know that it’s possible to be fairly paid for their hard work,” Masaraure said.
Zimstat spokesperson Mercy Chidemo said messages were delivered to all enumerators that they should return all the census gadgets at the end of the census project.
“It’s known everywhere that Treasury circulars on allowances are pegged in US$ and payments are done at the auction rate of the day. All civil servants are aware of this. All the enumerators were informed that they would return the tablets at the end of the enumeration programme,” Chidemo said.