Govt extends population census

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Statistics Director Ms Liengoane Lefosa
Statistics Director Ms Liengoane Lefosa

. . . as some people refuse to cooperate with enumerators

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 people 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 enumerators 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 pre-schools,” 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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