Officials from the National Statistics Office (NSO) will on Monday start to count each and every Malawian in a national census and population amid threats from enumerators that they would sabotage the process.
In Kasungu, the enumerators say they have just been paid K20, 000 out of the agreed K120,000 for the week long training, saying this put them in harsh conditions as they had to sleep in bus shelters and eat little because the money was not enough.
The enumerators are also demanding that the K120, 000 which has been allocated as their allowance for each one of them for the two week census period be revised to K210, 000 in line with the cost of life.
Enumerators on Friday stormed the District Commissioner’s office to protest against unpaid allowances but they were sent back by the DC who said they did not follow proper procedures to demonstrate.
Police dispersed them using tear gas.
However, the disgruntled enumalators have since said they would sabotage the whole process if their demands are not met.
But spokesperson for NSO Kingsley Manda said those enumerators who do not want to work should just go, saying NSO has a long list of people who want the job.
“We told them in advance that this would be the allowance and they agreed. Why did they wait until they are employed to start making the demands even before they have started the work,” said Manda.
He said the K120, 000 was arrived at because the enumerators were told to be operating from home and the money was just for food.
On the K100, 000 training allowance for the Kasungu enumerators, he said the rest of the money would be credited into their bank accounts.
Manda also disclosed that NSO has hired 6, 000 vehicles for a total budget of K700 million out of the K13.8 billion budget, saying some of the vehicles are from five hiring firms and other private cars as well as government departments and parastatals.
In a related development, Ntcheu district commissioner (DC) Smart Gwedemula has asked enumerators into be professional when discharging their duties.
Speaking in Ntcheu during the official opening of a training session for enumerators, the DC said the exercise is important as its results are used in formulating government policies, planning development initiatives and as a guide in the allocation of various social services.
Gwedemula warned enumerators that they will be fired if they misbehave.
“Let me urge enumerators to be professional so that we have accurate data by the end of this exercise. Let me also take this opportunity to warn those that will misbehave during the exercise that they will be fired,” he said.
This year’s PHC will start on September 3 and finish on September 23 2018. At least 20 000 young men and women have been recruited as enumerators to conduct the census nationwide.
The previous census was conducted in 2008. Malawi conducts PHC after 10 years.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :