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Zimbabwe's Military, State Security Agents Hijack National Census Program

Zimbabwe’s military and state security agents are allegedly hijacking training programs for conducting the country’s national census, forcing some civil servants to drop out of the scheme in many parts of the country.

There were disputes in Harare on Monday at induction workshops for the census over the involvement of soldiers. Civil servants are said to have protested after scores of soldiers tried to infiltrate the training program.

Joel Gabuza, Binga legislator for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change formation, told the VOA the training program has also stopped in his constituency because police and army officials are getting rid of state workers and bringing in their own people.

“What normally happens is that civil servants are involved in the census but what is happening now is that people who are supposed to do the enumeration are being displaced by people who have no right or are not supposed to be doing it,” Gabuza said.

An emailed report from a concerned headmaster in Manicaland said there was chaos and confusion in the recruitment of supervisors and enumerators in Nyanga and Mutasa Districts.

The headmaster said state security agents are conducting a parallel recruitment exercise.

"When the state security agents received the list of enumerators they deleted names randomly and replaced them with their own friends, wives, children, girlfriends and those who paid them some bribes," wrote the headmaster.

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said teachers who had started undergoing training sessions were also forced to drop out in Epworth and some parts of Mashonaland West.

It is reported that general enumerators will receive about $80 a day during the country’s fourth national population census which runs from 18 to 28 August.

There was no immediate comment from Zanu PF but Gabuza, who is also the deputy spokesman for the Tsvangirai-led MDC formation, said "greedy people are hijacking the program".