A labour union representing rural school teachers in the country has blasted the Government, claiming that President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Zanu PF administration had, at one time, tried to rope in ruling party supporters to work as enumerators ahead of the national census this April, only to be disappointed upon the realisation that they do not possess the prerequisite minimum qualifications of at least five Ordinary Level passes, as required in the recruitment of census personnel.

According to the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (ARTUZ), the country’s regulating authority for the census, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat), has since realised that the landlocked southern African nation cannot do without teachers, in their quest to engage qualified personnel in the execution of the historic 2022 national census to be held between April 21 and April 30, this year.

ARTUZ also claimed that ZimStat had tried to engage youths aligned to Zanu PF for the recruitment of enumerators and other personnel in the impending 2022 Population Census- a move that faltered as the majority of the party youths do not possess the required qualifications for the employment of contractual staffers.

The firing of (teachers) in Bulawayo and Bubi is well documented,” said ARTUZ in remarks posted on their Twitter handle.

The rural teachers, who have perennially bemoaned incapacitation and woeful working conditions, also added, tweeting:

We are aware that without (teachers), @zimstat will never get enough qualified personnel. They tried to go for ZANU PF youths but majority had no O levels. Hate us or like us but you can’t do without (us).

In January, ZimStat public relations manager, Mercy Chidemo, said the country required more than 50 000 enumerators and other personnel for the 2022 National Population Census exercise.

Roundabout the same time, President Mnangagwa had described this year’s edition as ‘historic’, in a keynote address delivered at a launch of the 50-day countdown of the looming national population census.

I am pleased to announce that for the first time in the history of censuses in Zimbabwe, the 2022 census will emphasise housing characteristics and living conditions. Focus will be on aspects such as access to electricity, types of dwelling units and sources of drinking water among others,” said the 79-year old Zimbabwe leader.

Added Mnangagwa:

It is now widely accepted that migration impacts economic development. Accordingly the2022 population and housing census has a module on emigration and seeks to provide demographic information and estimate of our Zimbabwean diaspora population. Data from this emigration module will assist government to determine the level of skills loss or brain drain that has occurred“.