Members of the security force have reportedly disrupted and stopped census induction workshops in Bulawayo and Matabeleland regions as they raise mistrust that if teachers are left “unsupervised” will start campaigning against Zanu-PF.
The workshops organised by Zimbabwe Statistics, which is leading the process expected to run from the 18th to 27th of August, are said to be in limbo in these two regions after soldiers, police and Central Intelligence Organisation(CIOs) members allegedly stormed the training centres and dispelled the attendants, most of whom teachers.
In Bulawayo at Polytechnic College the soldiers on Wednesday morning disrupted the training session which also failed to kick off on Monday following similar disruptions.
“We are really amazed as to why these soldiers are interrupting our workshop,” said one of the attendants. “The workshop was set to start on Monday but these guys came here and told us that there were some logistics which needed to be addressed and ordered us to leave.”
Another source from Matabeleland South, at Mzingwane Boys High School, told Radio Dialogue the training was stopped and soldiers indicated that they needed to be included as enumerators.
The source said: “Nothing is happening since we came here on Monday, they (soldiers) plainly said teachers can not be allowed to conduct census by themselves in fear that they may start campaigning for opposition parties.”
However, political commentator Ncube said the behaviour by soldiers is a sign that Zimbabwe is a country under military rule and they are troubling the same government which made them into a partisan force.
“They believe that they are the players in everything that government is doing. In this case they would want to control census … for Zanu-PF to continue being in power. This is a military move as we have said before that there are people who can blatantly ignore the provision of the constitution of Zimbabwe,” said Ncube.
He further said confusion during this census exercise is a sign that the forthcoming elections will be marred with violence.
MDC deputy spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi said they are concerned about the injection of members of the security force into census programme.
He said: “We are surprised that Zanu-PF decided to hijack the process and decided to plant members of the security forces into census.”
In the previous counting exercises, the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture, and teachers have often led the process with other government departments participating.
MDC deputy spokesperson Kurauone Chihwayi[podcast]http://www.radiodialogue.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Kurauone.mp3[/podcast]