The Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) has written to the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) seeking an explanation as to why there were no statistics of people who have left the country for greener pastures.
Zimstat recently released its preliminary 2022 Population and Housing Census report which did not include the number of people who have left the country in the past 10 years.
In a letter dated 28 July 2022, MIHR co-ordinator Khumbulani Mpofu argued that the inclusion of the number of emigrants in the census report is critical. Wrote Mpofu:
Considering that ZimStat sought to establish, through one of its questionnaire questions, the number of family members who had migrated outside the country, why did the Preliminary Report not give an indication of the number of emigrants per ward juxtaposed with the total ward statistics?
This information is critical for understanding the overall population statistics and it is critical now at a time when Zimbabwe is having policy debates on diaspora remittances and their contribution to the realisation of National Development Strategy goals and targets.
This was also going to be critical in the understanding and appreciation of the Preliminary Census Report. We also wish to understand why it was not included in the preliminary report.
Meanwhile, Mpofu corroborated Zimstat’s explanation on the statistics for Ward 20 in Matobo district, Matabeleland South province after preliminary census results showed that the area had only 85 males and no females.
In a statement released on Friday, Zimstat public relations and communication manager Mercy Chidemo said the Ward had no permanent residents. Said Chidemo:
Residents from neighbouring communal areas practice partial nomadic life. When feed for their animals diminishes in their usual areas of habitation, some locals take their animals to ward 20 for grazing.
They put up temporary structures as shelter. They will reside in this area for months and then go back to their usual places of residence when summer sets in.
When our enumerators entered the ward, they accounted for 85 males who spent the census night, April 20, in these temporary structures in ward 20 of the Matobo area.
Kindly note that the census was conducted using the de-facto method that entails enumeration of persons who slept at a given place on the census night irrespective of their place of usual residence.