Mapostori refuse to be counted

HARARE - Scared of being counted in the just-ended census, members of Marange apostolic sect in Domboshawa fled into mountains yesterday when enumerators approached them as they were conducting a mop-up recount.

Even Finance minister Tendai Biti could not have envisaged the drama that took place yesterday in Domboshawa after he announced on Monday the successful completion of the decennial event saying 98 percent of the population had been counted.

The enumerators’ prior visit to the apostolic community had faced fierce resistance.

“After failing to count church members on Wednesday (last week) we went back to Chidzidzo seeking to conduct a mop-up recount but as we approached, the people fled,” said an enumerator.

“We went to the police station and returned with three uniformed officers trying to convince the people to return.”

Enumerators said they only found women at the shrine, as men lifted babies in a huff and fled into the mountains fearing it was an immunisation programme.

The Marange church is famous for its anti-immunisation stance. President Robert Mugabe at the launch of the census programme urged members of different religions to cooperate with enumerators.

Biti on Monday commended Zimbabweans for taking part in the exercise which he said was conducted according to the United Nations guidelines and procedures and Sadc recommended topics to enable regional comparative analysis.

“As of yesterday enumeration was on course and our staff on the ground had covered 98 percent of work and there are now doing mop-up exercise which includes the issues of report backs, call backs and field editing. The process will therefore end today,” said Biti on Monday.

Some members of the apostolic church were among the two percent that was not counted.

The census programme had a rocky start which at one time cast doubt over the credibility of the programme after security organs reportedly hijacked the national programme.

This saw the training programme for enumerators being postponed twice as the government battled to control the situation.

The programme finally kicked off on August 17, at midnight with the counting of vagrants and those in transit.

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