Zim to hold census despite violence

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IOL pic nov21 zimbabwe tsvangirai Reuters

Harare -

Zimbabwe will move ahead with a planned census, ministers said on Friday, despite violent disruptions at training centres this week.

Acting Finance Minister Gorden Moyo said there would be “peace and tranquility in our training centres.”

He also pledged that the census, which is set to begin on August 17, would be held according to United Nations guidelines.

Armed members of the security forces had earlier overran institutions where teachers - traditionally the ones who carry out the door-to-door information collecting - were receiving training. Many of the soldiers demanded jobs.

The short-term work for the government pays relatively well in the southern African nation, which is slowly trying to recover from a long economic decline.

The population count is being held shortly before an expected referendum on a new national constitution. Next year should then see general elections, which will end the term of the shaky coalition government that has been in place since 2009.

There is concern that soldiers loyal to long-serving President Robert Mugabe could assist with gerrymandering districts in favour of his Zanu-PF party if too many were allowed to be census collectors.

Previous elections have seen widespread attacks by security forces against members of the Movement for Democratic Change party, the junior partner in the coalition government. - Sapa-dpa


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