The ongoing national census exercise has suffered a setback in Masaka as several men have stopped their wives from allowing enumerators from accessing their wives.
On Thursday last week, Uganda National Bureau of Statistics embarked on the nationwide census for the next ten days. The exercise involves enumerators visiting each household in the country to collect data during the specified period.
However, in Masaka the enumerators have found stiff resistance from some of the residents, who have blocked them from accessing their homes to collect the required data.
Some of the affected areas include Buwunga, Bukakata landing site, Mukungwe and Kabonera. According to the enumerators deployed in these areas, they didn’t collect data from several households as the housewives refused to grant them access saying their husbands stopped them from speaking to them.
Lillian Musisi, the Masaka district Census coordinator says they have recorded several cases where women refused to speak to the enumerators on the orders from their husbands.
She says majority of the women who mostly stay at home refused to answer their questions. She says this prompted the enumerators to first sensitize masses on the importance of the census.
Joseph Muyimba and Peter Lwebuga Mutesasira are residents of Gulama in Masaka. They revealed that they don’t like being counted.
Muyimba says that during the last census in 2002 government said it was collecting data for purposes of planning, which will lead to improved service delivery but situation has only worsened.
He cites Masaka-Gulama road that he says has never been rehabilitated. Muyimba says he cannot waste his time to be enumerated instead of riding his bike to earn some money for his family.
Lwebuga Mutesasira argues that asking him questions like do you have salt, do you have sugar, what kind of latrine do you use are useless since government does not buy him salt.
He also fears that government is asking them such questions to identify possible taxable assets. Godfrey Kayemba Afaayo, the Mayor Masaka municipality agrees with these concerns. Kayemba says he was enumerated but says the questions are too many and time wasting.
Noah Sserunjogi, the Greater Masaka Region Police spokesperson says police is on high alert to deal with all those who are planning to disrupt the exercise.
He says they have not yet recorded any major challenges adding that, they are working closely with the enumerators to ensure a peaceful census.