- Published on Sunday, 26 August 2012 01:59
- Written by EDITOR
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THE historic population and housing census is taking shape throughout the country as men and women knock from one house to another to complete the much awaited exercise as trained and directed by facilitators.
While hours turn into days of the exercise, our plea to all Tanzanians is simple and clear: Please stand up and be counted.
In the past six months or so, campaigns have been conducted to sensitize and urge 'wananchi' to respond positively to the exercise, which aims to get the actual number of people for better planning of development programmes and projects.
However, there have been deliberate attempts by counter-productive elements to sabotage the census, basing their manoeuvre on outdated cultural practices and beliefs.
While no one has ever produced concrete evidence of the negative effects of being counted, the perpetrators have only given flimsy excuses, such as inflicting fears that a person who is counted dies very quickly.
That the argument holds no water, is not difficult to tell. Millions of people who were counted during the previous four censuses are still alive, healthy and kicking. Death has nothing to do with the exercise and people will die anyway, with or without the census.
In some cases, those bent to disrupt this year's census have cited religious reasons although again, none has quoted specific verses from their books that prohibit the faithful from being counted.
At times we wonder why it has almost become customary for Tanzanians to mention the number of their children, each time they are asked by a friend, for no important reason at all, but feel offended when the issue has to do with national census.
Yet in some parts of the country where literacy is very low, local communities have given their conditions before they can avail themselves for the census, advancing frivolous demands like a free local brew and meat from their favourite animals.
Some saboteurs have gone further to suggest that unless the government brings home the dinosaur fossils taken to Germany long time ago, they would advocate for a census boycott. All this points to the need for civic education for Tanzanians to know important development issues and be able to defend their country from any form of sabotage.
As President Jakaya Kikwete has pleaded with the people, when addressing the nation yesterday, this year's population census is about setting development goals and has nothing to do with religion, cultural practices or beliefs.
Its main objective is for the government to establish the number of people for the social benefit of the entire population, without regard to religion, political party or race. When the government establishes the exact number of people in a certain village, district or region, it can set its goals and implement them accordingly.
Such projects as water, education, health, infrastructure, etc, cannot just be executed without having proper information and data for those who are targeted. Let everyone get ready to be counted in the historic event, it is for our own good.