The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has joined the Bulawayo City Council to dispute the results of this year’s national population census released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStats) last Monday.
At the heart of the dispute are census figures showing stagnant or negative population growth in the Midlands, Manicaland, Bulawayo and Masvingo provinces.
PTUZ claims the figures were manipulated by the country’s spy network, the Central Intelligence Organization, the military and President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party in an effort to limit voter registration in those areas for next year’s election.
The census indicates that Zimbabwe has a population of about 12.9 million people – a 1.1 percent increase from 2002, when the country had 11.6 million.
ZimStats says Harare has 16 percent of the total population, followed by Manicaland with 14 percent, Midlands 13 percent, Masvingo and Mashonaland West 11 percent each, Mashonaland central 9 percent and Matabeleland North 6 percent.
Matabeleland South and Bulawayo account for 5 percent of the total population each. These figures are being strongly disputed by Bulawayo Mayor Patrick Thaba Moyo.
Moyo insists the city has more than one million people, not the just over 655,000 people counted by ZimStats.
ZimStats manager Washington Mapeta insists the population figures are accurate.
Census figures are used officially to allocate government resources. As a result, it is not uncommon for census figures to be disputed.