Mthwakazi Republic Party (MRP) has said it will soon conduct its own census in Matabeleland while rejecting preliminary 2022 population census results released by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT) describing them as extremely “flawed.”
According to the ZIMSTAT report, Zimbabwe’s population grew by 16.2 percent from 13,061,239 in 2012 to 15,178,979 in 2022 with an annual growth rate of 1.5 percent.
Recording the lowest growth rate of just 2 percent, Bulawayo Metropolitan Province’s population which stood at 653,337 in 2012 now stands at 665,940. This means the city’s population grew by just 12, 603 people in the past 10 years.
Matabeleland South population figures slightly went up from 683,893 to 760,345 during the period under review while Matabeleland North now has a population of 827,626 up from 749,017 in 2012.
Harare Metropolitan, which remains the country’s most populous province now has a population of 2,427,209 up from 2,123,132.
“We have always argued about the population results of Matabeleland and the Midlands, alias Mthwakazi,” said MRP president Mqondisi Moyo.
“I analysed these results after the 2012 results looking at 2002 figures as well. The margin of it was similar for 2002 and 2012. When I wanted to challenge this in 2013, I engaged the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) and by then they projected that the population of Bulawayo was over 1.2 million.”
He further said: “They (BCC) had even said the biggest suburb in Bulawayo was Cowdray Park which they said had about 150, 000 people followed by Nkulumane which had 60, 000 people. How many new suburbs have been built after that? Cowdray Park keeps on extending, Emganwini and other suburbs. So, their figures do not add up.”
He said MRP would in due course carry out its own census dismissing ZIMSTAT figures as suppressed.
“We are going to conduct our own population census at our own time using chiefs and village heads in rural areas because these are the people with the right statistics of the subjects that they have in their localities,” said Moyo.
“In Bulawayo and other urban centres we are going to use local authority administration because these are the people with proper figures about the number of schools, households and how many people live in each household and all those things. It is easier for us to verify statistics using that information.”
He said the deliberate suppression of Matabeleland figures would perpetuate the region’s underdevelopment and marginalisation.
“The population results determine how resources will be allocated to people, meaning that when they suppress our figures in Matabeleland or Mthwakazi, 60 percent of resources that sustain Zimbabwe are from Mthwakazi, so our resources will be taken to Mashonaland. We are not going to accept these figures.”
He also questioned the integrity of some international bodies funding “flawed” censuses.
“In 2013, there were some international bodies that funded that population census,” he said.
“They put in their money. So if such bodies would fund such a flawed exercise, it is a big sign that they are also not being sincere to the people.”