Govt ex­tends pop­u­la­tion cen­sus

Lesotho Times - - News - Lim­pho Sello

THE 2016 Pop­u­la­tion Cen­sus has been ex­tended to 30 April 2016 to cater for peo­ple who were not counted in the na­tion­wide ex­er­cise.

Ac­cord­ing to the Di­rec­tor of Statis­tics, Lien­goane Le­fosa, the pop­u­la­tion au­dit, which was sched­uled to end on Sun­day, had to be ex­tended to cover heads of fam­i­lies who were not found at home dur­ing work­ing hours and peo­ple who re­fused to co­op­er­ate with enu­mer­a­tors.

The ex­er­cise is con­ducted ev­ery 10 years, with the last cen­sus held in April 2006 which found that Le­sotho’s pop­u­la­tion stood at 1.9 mil­lion.

Ms Le­fosa said since the launch of the cen­sus on 10 April 2016, some enu­mer­a­tors were un­able to carry out their work af­ter some peo- ple re­fused to di­vulge per­sonal in­for­ma­tion.

“There are some peo­ple who still refuse to be counted, and in some in­stances I even had to in­ter­vene,” said Ms Le­fosa.

“When we vis­ited the com­mu­ni­ties to find out why some of the peo­ple were re­fus­ing to be counted, they changed their minds and co­op­er­ated with­out hes­i­ta­tion.”

She said some peo­ple had ac­cused the enu­mer­a­tors of be­long­ing to cer­tain po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

“The prob­lem we are en­coun­ter­ing is that some peo­ple are politi­ciz­ing the pop­u­la­tion cen­sus by bring­ing in party pol­i­tics into the enu­mer­a­tion process,” Ms Le­fosa said.

“I must em­pha­sise that the pop­u­la­tion cen­sus is very im­por­tant be­cause statis­tics play a ma­jor role in the de­vel­op­ment of the country since the data is used for plan­ning pur­poses.”

The Di­rec­tor of Statis­tics said the enu­mer- ators ask ques­tions about liv­ing stan­dards to as­cer­tain how Ba­sotho are far­ing.

“The in­ten­tion be­hind the ques­tions about liv­ing stan­dards is to de­ter­mine Ba­sotho’s qual­ity of life and level of de­vel­op­ment in our country,” she said.

“We also need to es­tab­lish whether our pop­u­la­tion is grow­ing or de­creas­ing hence the ques­tions about fer­til­ity.

“The 2006 pop­u­la­tion cen­sus re­vealed that the pop­u­la­tion had de­clined by 0.08 per­cent, so fer­til­ity has an im­pact on pop­u­la­tion growth.”

Ms Le­fosa said the enu­mer­a­tors also ask about age, health sta­tus and num­ber of peo­ple in a house­hold among other ques­tions.

She said the in­for­ma­tion would as­sist var­i­ous govern­ment de­part­ments to as­cer­tain the needs of the pop­u­lace and help in the de­liv­ery of ser­vices.

“For ex­am­ple, the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing needs such in­for­ma­tion to know the num­ber of chil­dren likely to en­roll in preschools,” she said.

“The pub­lic needs to bear in mind the fact that hin­der­ing the enu­mer­a­tion process would re­sult in an un­der-count which is un­ac­cept­able.”

Ms Le­fosa said it was il­le­gal to refuse to be counted and to give false in­for­ma­tion to enu­mer­a­tors.

“Re­fus­ing to co­op­er­ate with enu­mer­a­tors or giv­ing false in­for­ma­tion can elicit a M2000 fine, im­pris­on­ment for one year or both,” she said.

“We don’t want to reach a point where we take peo­ple to court be­cause we don’t have the time to waste.

“That is why we are ap­peal­ing to the pub­lic to co­op­er­ate with enu­mer­a­tors.”

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