Zanu PF, Army Smuggle 10,000 Enumerators in Census: MDC

“A record 10,000 army and Zanu PF youth officers are reported to have been conscripted into the census at the expense of school teachers and other civil servants who have traditionally carried this exercise for the country,” the MDC said.

“The involvement of the army, the intelligence and Zanu PF youth officers is a well planned move to militarise this civilian process. It is clearly meant to falsify the results of the census, which results may provide pointers in areas where elections were rigged to suit Zanu PF in the past.”

“The MDC therefore, hails the decision of the cabinet at the behest of the Minister of Finance to order the removal of soldiers and youth officers from this exercise,” the party said.

Acting Minister of Finance, Gorden Moyo told journalists at a news conference Thursday that the training of enumerators has been suspended “indefinitely” falling short of naming soldiers and intelligence officers as the ones behind the violent disruptions of the recruitment of the population counters.

“We have suspended training because we need to make sure that all the enumerators, 31,000 of them meet the criteria. There is a criteria we have set, that criteria is not just for Zimbabwe, that criteria is regional and international best practice,” Moyo said.

“The census count should commence midnight 17, 18 of August 2012. This date has remained fixed since 1982, and should remain so following international best practice. However, training of enumerators has not proceeded smoothly owing to constant disruptions.”

Moyo, however, said the army has always been part of the national processes, as they have a role to play that there is peace and stability in the country. Moyo said the army and other security services can count people in security areas only using trained enumerators.

“There are designated areas where we don’t send civilians to do work there. Even those security personnel who will participate as enumerators in those areas like police camps and others, they will have to meet the technical criteria,” Moyo said.

“No training will take place until further notice. We have suspended the training until further notice. I would like to assure the people of Zimbabwe that census shall be held according to the standards, the standards that are found in the SADC principles that are found in the United Nations statistical department. We shall follow those.”

Recruitment of enumerators has been marred by violent scenes across the country as the army, police and intelligence services servicemen bulldozed their way to be employed as enumerators for two weeks attracted by allowances.

Enumerators in the population census are guaranteed $500 for the two weeks they would be working across the country, a figure which is double the salary of a civil servant who earns $250. Those people who will hire out their vehicles are going to earn $1000 for car hire.