The Zimbabwean National Census, an important government programme which will affect all future planning for service provision, has been shamelessly politicised and now seems jeopardised by security forces clearly organised by Zanu (PF).
Chaos and indignity ruled yesterday and today as uniformed soldiers and other security forces in plain clothes disrupted enumeration recruitment all over the country.
Right on kew, as Zanu (PF) moves to reject the draft constitution because of its own internal chaos, thugs have been unleashed to make the country ungovernable by the same elements undermining peace and abusing the armed forces, disrupting the census and stalling the Constitution-making process.
Reporting about the disruptions The Herald said said the programme "hit stormy waters with riot police sealing off venues where training of enumerators was supposed to take place amid reports that MDC-T wanted to hijack the process for political expediency."
It mentioned nothing about unformed soldiers storming the enumeration training centrers and disrupting their registration while demanding to be included.
The Herald only quoted the acting Minister of Finance Gorden Moyo confirming that the census had not started as planned "following disagreement among civil servants on the composition of who should partake in the process," according to The Herald.
They did not even saying that the problem was started by security sector workers demanding a role in the census which has traditionally been done by teachers and other civil servants from the social sectors.
The MDC on the other hand reported that riot police descended enumeration training centres around the country for a second day running on Tuesday following disturbances caused by "a clear attempt to derail the census.
Newsday, one of the leading dailies said soldiers on Tuesday disrupted the induction of enumerators for this year’s national population census across the country, defying a government directive to stay away from the process.
Cabinet had had to be involved and had imposed a limit on the number of soldiers who could be involved in the census at supervisory and enumeration level to 1 571 to accommodate the soldiers.
But the fact that the chaos was all over the country suggests a planned and co-ordinated disruption, especially when we get reports that some soldiers were in uniform and that in Mutare the soldiers confiscated and ate all the food meant for the enumerators and barred the civil servants entering the premises.
They were clearly not there to wanting an opportunity to make money which they had been denied, but to disrupt the process.
In Harare, Masvingo, Mutare and Bulawayo Police intervention was said to have worsened the disruptions by soldiers, and so far we have not heard about any disciplinary action planned against them.
The civil servants ended up being dispersed by the armed police who told them the gathering was illegal, and in Harare, armed riot police stopped a Zimstat official who was reading out names of teachers who had been selected at Girls’ High School and Highfield 1 High School.
Entrances to the schools were barricaded by the police.Some enumerators who thought their names that had been submitted through their respective schools could not find their names and complained that they were then chased away by riot police.
But in Masvingo there were clear reports of security forces in civilian clothes storming Masvingo Polytechnic College and demanding to be included in the programme.
The insecurity situation worsened after the disruptions as some enumerators were now worried that they might be dropped dropped to pave way for the security forces.
The soldiers reportedly argued that the non-military civil servants would campaign for the MDC-T while they were enumerating, which clearly suggests that the soldiers had been politicised.
In Mutare Newsday reported that the civil servants who had gathered at the Chinese-owned Golden Peacock Hotel waiting to hear from ZimStat officials waited all morning and were denied use of the toilets in the hotel. Police told them to use the bush.
There were also disruptions and heavy-handed police intervention in Bulawayo.