The 2022 Census got to a rough start on Thursday amid reports of a shortage of equipment, poor communication patterns and discontent among enumerators who threatened to boycott the exercise over non-payment of allowances.
NewZimbabwe.com visited some ZIMSTAT centres across the capital and observed that several enumerators were still to obtain IDs and uniforms on the day of commencement.
The enumeration process started on Wednesday just after midnight but by 10 am, several enumerators at a centre in the Glen View were still stranded, with no one to address them in the obtaining situation.
They told NewZimbabwe.com that they were yet to be addressed by the officials running the process.
Highly placed sources within the statistics agency reported critical shortages of data capturing gadgets, prompting some provinces to instruct enumerators to go back home as they were disabled to collect the information amid reports that the equipment was yet to be allocated. Said one ZIMSTAT insider:
We were let down by the shortage of tablets so enumerators are few on the ground. The gadgets have since arrived and are currently being provisioned at the head office. But truth be told we were ill-prepared for this census.
A number of the enumerators who spoke to NewZimbabwe.com complained over the non-payment of their allowances with some threatening to hold on to the gadgets as well as downing tools if payments are not processed any time soon.
Some enumerators also complained about ZIMSTAT’s decision to cut their allowances from US$78 per day to US$47.
Contacted for comment over the allegations, ZIMSTAT spokesperson, Mercy Chidemo dismissed the equipment shortages allegations.
She said the enumeration process started as planned at midnight adding, “The cut back we have experienced on enumerators was just from those officials who were enumerating floating population from midnight till morning needing to rest as well.”