Census enumerators made to wait for payment over two missing iPads

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Census enumerators made to wait for payment over two missing iPads
The census tablets became a big issue during the exercise

The National Housing and Population Census conducted in May was like a well-oiled machine, with 99 percent of citizens counted.

This impressive feat, as reported by Dr Chris Mukiza, the executive director of the Uganda Bureau of Statistics and Census Commissioner, might seem like smooth sailing.

However, beneath the surface, enumerators faced a series of hurdles and challenges to reach this 99 percent.

The census was more than just a count; it provided much-needed jobs for the country's youthful population.

Among the sea of applicants, only a few lucky ones were selected, lured by the promise of daily allowances and a Shs500,000 allowance at the end of the exercise.

For many, the money arrived as expected.

Yet, for those working in Nakawa Division, their hard-earned Shs500,000 remains elusive, tangled up in the mystery of two missing iPads.

Imagine this: amidst the bustling streets and crowded households, enumerators juggled their duties with the ever-present risk of their equipment being stolen.

In a twist worthy of a detective novel, some enumerators decided to disappear with the iPads. According to a reliable source, one enumerator brazenly declared he wouldn't return the iPad until their payment was fully disbursed.

It’s a standoff, with an official at UBOS saying, "We will not pay until you return the two missing iPads."

Catherine (not her real name), one of the enumerators, shares a glimpse into the tension: "I know the guy who took one of the iPads, but he has refused to return it because he fears UBOS might not pay us. You know how Ugandan things be."

Her frustration is palpable, reflecting the mistrust simmering beneath the surface. She adds, "We were told we would be paid after we returned the materials given to us for the enumeration: the tablet, power bank, and USB."

The saga of the missing iPads has cast a shadow over the successful census, like a cloud obscuring the sun.

The resolution remains uncertain, as enumerators and officials find themselves locked in a standoff, each side holding firm to their conditions.

The missing iPads have become a symbol of the broader challenges and complexities that lie behind the numbers.

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