President Robert Mugabe launched Zimbabwe’s 2012 population census on Wednesday by calling on Zimbabweans to multiply.
Mugabe said results of the 2002 census showing Zimbabwe’s population at 11,6 million people made for “miserable” reading.
He insists that Zimbabwe’s population has stagnated as a result of HIV-Aids related deaths.
“We want more children. Give us more children you women. Muri kurambirei mimba? Makapihwirwei? Aiwa aiwa musanyime (Why are you refusing to get pregnant? Why were you given bellies? No, no, don’t refuse),” Mugabe said at a hotel in Harare, where he joined Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in launching the census.
He added: “The census results of 2002 were a disappointment to me the numbers were down, miserably down. Well, they have not increased very much.
“The country’s population has been decimated by the pandemic we all know – HIV and Aids. We still need to establish whether that pandemic still has that same effect of decimating our population or have we managed at least to control it in such a way that even though it still affects us, we managed to beat our death rate.”
The 2012 census, which gets underway on at midnight on Friday, is the fourth since 1980.
In 1982, Zimbabwe’s population was 7,6 million, in 1992 it rose to 10,4 million and then slowed to 11,6 million in 2002.
Mugabe said an honest and objective census would help the government focus resources. He urged all Zimbabweans to cooperate with the 30,000 enumerators by “answering all the questions truthfully.”
“There are some countries in Africa in which censuses are impossible to do because of ethnic differences or regional differences. You will find mid-way through the process boxes disappear, disappear like they do on elections because one will say our region or province would be considered smaller or our ethnic group would be considered smaller,” Mugabe said.
“We want honest and objective facts, the data which will help us.