In a speech to commemorate 32 years of independence on Wednesday, Mugabe said:”The main aim of the census is to provide demographic and socio-economic data required in the formulation, monitoring and evaluation development plans and programmes. I wish to call upon every Zimbabwean to fully support this process and ensure that we have a successful 2012 National Population Census.”
The census count dates have been set for August 18 to 28.
Zimbabwe has been holding a population census every 10 years since 1982. The southern African country is expected to use about $37 million for the process.
Zimbabwe’s population has been increasing since the 1980s but over 2 million are said to be overseas or living in neighbouring countries after people fled the hard economic situation.
Apart from the census Zimbabwe is expected to hold a constitutional referendum that will lead to elections whose date is yet to be announced.
Meanwhile independence celebrations in Bulawayo were snubbed by both politicians from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations and Zanu (PF) politicians despite a crowd attendance of about 10 000 people who turned out at White city stadium on Wednesday.
The crowd could have been keen to watch the country’s biggest football team, Dynamos, which was set to meet Hwange at the 15 000-seater stadium.
Zanu (PF) bigwigs in Bulawayo also snubbed the Governor’s ball held on Tuesday evening. The ball was only attended by politburo member Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and the host Cain Mathema and other low-ranking officials including the acting party provincial chairperson Killian Sibanda.
Observers said Zanu (PF) factionalism in Bulawayo had affected the attendance at both the governor’s ball and the Independence celebrations.
In an interview, Zapu president, Dumiso Dabengwa, a former liberation war commander, said he believed the celebration of Independence Day was a show of respect to, “the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our freedom”.
“It (Independence Day) should be a reminder that Zimbabweans have to strive hard to fulfil all the remaining freedoms that people fought for such as freedom of expression, and freedom to choose leaders of their choice,” he said.