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“The household census questions are shocking”

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BY METHEMBE SIBANDA
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) has described as shocking some of the questions asked by surveyors from the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStats).

The country is currently undertaking the 2022 population and housing census which will run until tomorrow.

Citizens have complained that census takers ask them strange questions such as the type of shoe polish they use, their fertility status and other questions they deem irrelevant.

Speaking during a virtual discussion on building the capacity of women to hold political positions, Zesn official Prisca Dube said: “Investigators are asking about relatives in the diaspora and what they do there – their job. Civil society organizations have never gone to ZimStats to find out the nature of the questions that will be asked of people in order to educate them. Census questions have many other variables besides being counted. People say the questions of whether someone has had a stillborn baby are shocking.

ZimStats public relations manager Roland Chiriga, however, defended the questions, saying they were necessary.

“The questions about the type of floor varnish used show how advanced the country is when it comes to the type of floor covering used. All the answers then tell us whether we are a developed country (or not). The questions on its fertility are not weird because we want to know the population growth rate and whether we have more births than deaths in the country.This helps the Registrar General’s office to know the number of birth certificates and necessary deaths,” Chiringa said.

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