Minor Glitches As Census Enters Day 5

The 2014 population and housing census enters the fifth day today, with officials saying the exercise is progressing with only isolated problems.

In Luweero, some enumerators had trouble counting people living with HIV, or those living in certain rental houses . The census started on Thursday, August 28 and ends on September 6, 2014. Esther Babirye, an enumerator in Kavule parish, in Luweero, said her first day had gone smoothly, but on day two, some women demanded money if they were to give her information.

“When I visited areas around ‘Big-Up’ club, a popular hang-out in Kasana, I was shocked when I tried to get information from people in rental houses around. Most of them, according to what I saw, are brothels. When I knocked at the doors, women smoking pipes and half-naked with men during day, came at the entrance and asked what I wanted. When I replied that I was an enumerator, they told me that counting them can never be more profitable than prostitution,” she said.

She added that she marked on these houses that were not yet covered and moved on. Tom Sagula, the supervisor of Kavule parish, said on Friday that people living with HIVAids were reluctant to be counted, angry that government is not helping them. Sagula said some claimed their days on earth were numbered and they saw no sense in being counted.

Some local council officials, enumerators said, were unwilling to help in case of problems – because they have not been paid. George Namugera, the Kakookolo village boss said: “I and my colleagues were not given any allowance, yet the enumerators keep calling and asking us to introduce them in some places we can’t participate if we are not facilitated.”

Asked about the progress of the exercise in his area, Henry Musisi, the spokesman of the census bureau in Luweero, said: “If you want any comment about that, wait until the exercise is concluded first of all, we have not yet harmonized any collected information.”

However, in Masaka, the census was reported to be progressing well, despite some residents trying to withhold information they considered too personal.

“We have not received any alarming information from the enumerators and we hope that we shall end that way,” said Joseph Kalungi the LC-V chairman.

However, Kalungi wished that the first day of the census, Thursday, had been declared a public holiday.

“It would have given the enumerators an opportunity to talk to many people in a short time, thereby easing their work,” Kalungi said.

Masaka district Community Development Officer Lillian Musisi said some men, especially along landing sites in the sub-counties of Bukakkata and Buwunga, had stopped their wives from giving information about their families.

“But we are steadily solving this by sensitizing those who don’t want to talk to our enumerators… ,” Musisi said.

Speaking to The Observer on Saturday morning, Masaka Resident District Commissioner Linos Ngompek, one of the census monitors, said: “Although we are moving on slowly, we are sure of where we are going. We have so far covered about 40 per cent of the whole district and we are hopeful that by the end of the 10 days, we shall have done good work.”

Ngompek, however, said there were some two small cults, one in Kyabakuza and the other in Bukakkata sub-county, that had stopped their followers from participating in the census.

“We, however, shall not leave them uncounted and if we confirm that they have adamantly refused to give the required information, we shall count them as we are doing to [the mentally-ill],” he said.

The Anglican bishop of West Buganda, Godfrey Makumbi, was among the first people to be counted on Thursday.

Source : The Observer

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