Cathy Buckle – Mopping up

08 September 2012 07:55

Dear Family and Friends,

Unbelievably, census mayhem continues in Zimbabwe a fortnight after
the conclusion of the 2012 population count. Ten days after they said
they’d finished counting us in the2012 census, the Zimbabwe National
Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) said they were about to embark on another
mop-up operation. The original census took place from the 17th to the
27th August and Zimstat hailed it as a big success. Here and there
came a few rumblings from people who said they hadn’t been counted
and the next we heard was that a ‘mop-up’ operation was underway.
Three days later the Census Director, Washington Mapeta said the mop-
up operation had been concluded. “ I think it has gone well to cover
others who might have been missed and it ends today,” said Mapeta.
That took us to the 30th August but all was not well.

Aside from the usual, predictable complaints that there wasn’t
enough money to pay the enumerators, whispers started growing louder
that everyone in the country had still not been counted. In the first
few days of September there were reports coming in from Harare,
Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mhondoro, Lupane – all saying that people from a
number of areas hadn’t been counted. A former MP in Lupane East told
an independent radio station that 108 homesteads in his area hadn’t
been counted and no one knew why they had been left out.

By then eyebrows were really raised. Was it really possible that
30,000 enumerators hadn’t been able to count the population in ten
days? Each enumerator only had to count approximately four hundred
people which, over ten days meant an average of forty people a day;
not a lot when an average household could be expected to have five or
six people resident.

The wheels really came off when the Deputy Minister of Justice, Obert
Gutu, said his household in Harare hadn’t been counted. The MDC MP
said he lived in a Close in Harare which had seven houses in it and
none of them had been counted by census enumerators. The Deputy
Minister said he felt aggrieved, marginalized and discriminated
against and was considering taking legal action against Zimstat.

The Zimstat Census Director told everyone who hadn’t been counted in
the Census to either contact enumerators in their areas or visit
Zimstat offices so that they could be counted. An independent
newspaper reported that when people who hadn’t been counted tried to
visit the Zimstat offices in Bulawayo they were turned away. It turns
out that the Zimstat offices in Bulawayo are in the same building as
the CIO. One man said he was denied entry by security guards who said
the building was a security threat. (Yes, the building was a threat,
not the visitor!)

Then a second ‘mop-up’ operation was announced. The Zimstat
Director said they were checking reports and enumerators would be
redeployed to areas where people said they hadn’t been counted.
Those people would have to now try and remember where they were on a
night over three weeks ago. One local weekly newspaper said that the
Zimstat Director launched into a tirade when he was asked about
payment irregularities saying that journalists were hell bent on
trying to discredit the 2012 cenus. Whew, we thought Zimstat had done
a pretty good job of that all by themselves!

And lastly, just to put the record straight, there were 11.6 million
Zimbabweans counted in the 2002 census, not the 14 million that are
being quoted in recent ZBC news bulletins. As much as it might suit
their propaganda to say there were 14 million people in Zimbabwe ten
years ago, there actually were not. Until next time, thanks for
reading, love cathy 8th September 2012.

Copyright Cathy Buckle.

For information on my new book “IMIRE”, about Norman Travers and
Imire Game Park, or my other books about Zimbabwe: “Innocent
Victims,” African Tears,” “Beyond Tears;” and “History of
the Mukuvisi Woodlands 1910-2010”, or to subscribe to
Cathy’s letter, please visit the  website or contact [email protected]

See other recent posts from Cathy Buckle

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