Sierra Leone census is inaccurate and cannot be accepted – says opposition SLPP

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 2 April 2016

President Koroma launches 2015 census report

The 2015 provisional census figures, published by Statistics Sierra Leone and launched by president Koroma last Thursday, have not only raised eyebrows among statisticians and economists regarding its accuracy and reliability, but have also sparked a political row.

The country’s main opposition party – the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) have issued a statement, strongly condemning the entire census process and the government’s failure to take heed of the warnings issued by the SLPP party, long before the head counting began.

The SLPP is accusing the government of gerrymandering and census fixing. They say that the ruling party had employed party supporters to conduct the census, rather than using trained non-partisan staff.

But what is truly remarkable and striking about these provisional figures is that in just over ten years, the population of Sierra Leone is reported to have grown by almost 50% – an increase not seen, since the end of the war in 2001, when millions of people migrated to the capital and its suburbs, from as far afield as Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria.

It is this post-war migration that accounted for the large increase in the country’s population, from about 3 million in 1990 to almost 5 million in 2004.

So what could have accounted for the 47% increase in population, reported by Statistics Sierra Leone between 2004 and 2015?

It is difficult to explain this massive increase using migration factors, as both Liberia and Guinea are now stable and doing quite well economically, compared to Sierra Leone.

maternal3Also, it is quite tenuous to argue that the country’s birth and survival rates have increased by almost 50%, accounting for this population increase.

According to the latest Global Human Development Index, adult mortality in Sierra Leone – the age most Sierra Leoneans are expected to die – is less than 50 years; coupled with the highest maternal mortality rate in the world.

For every 100,000 women giving birth – over 1,100 are reported dead every year – making Sierra Leone the most dangerous place for a woman to get pregnant.

Equally so, is the sad and tragic statistic, showing that Sierra Leone is the worst country for a child to be born. For every 1,000 children born in the country every year, 107 are reported dead – the highest rate of death among newly born in the world.

So too is the grim UNDP statistics, showing that for every 1,000 children that manage to live until they are four years old, 160 will sadly die before their fifth birthday.

school children in sierra leoneThe physical growth of 45% of children in Sierra Leone, aged under-five is severely stunted because of malnutrition, giving strong reason to believe that few will survive to celebrate their 15th birthday, let alone produce a large family.

These Global Human Development Index figures for Sierra Leone therefore raise serious questions, and pours doubt over the provisional 2015 census figures launched last Thursday by the president.

How can these figures be reasonably judged accurate and credible, in the face of such grim Global Human Development Index statistics for Sierra Leone?      

The 2015 figures also suggest that the ruling APC party’s stronghold – the Northern region, and the capital Freetown which is generally regarded as a ‘swing vote’ constituency, have had a population rise of 43% and 58% respectively.

In 2004, the northern region had a population of 1.746 million. Statistics Sierra Leone says that this has grown to over 2.5 million in 2015.

Freetown (Western region) had a population of 947,122 in 2004, and this, according to the government, has increased to over 1.49 million – an increase of 58%.

Southern region had a population of 1.093 million in 2004, which has grown to about 1.439 million in 2015 – an increase of 32% compared to the north’s increase of 43%.

The population of the Eastern region was 1.19 million in 2004, and is now reported to have had a 38% increase to about 1.64 million in 2015.

Once again, the question that must be asked is, what accounts for these abnormally large increases between 2004 and 2015, which cannot simply be explained by birth and migration factors?

Do these figures align with the total number of birth and death certificates issued in each region in the last ten years?

Has there been a surge in migration and or birth rates in the north and in Freetown in the last ten years?

These figures have sparked mixed feelings and reactions across the political divide in Sierra Leone today, and the reason is obvious. For the ruling party, should these provisional figures be confirmed as final, then they have won the 2018 elections.

Hence one can understand the reaction of the opposition SLPP to these figures. They may as well not turn up in 2018 to cast their votes, should these provisional figures be confirmed as final, as the 2015 census appears to be heavily skewed against the southern region.

Earlier today the SLPP issued a statement. This is what they say:

SLPP responds to 2015 census1

 

SLPP responds to 2015 census2

Will the SLPP now seek a judicial review? Supporters of the party are expecting the executives and their parliamentarians to strongly resist the official confirmation of these figures as final.

10 Comments

  1. This provisional result of the 2015 census, as announced on 31st March 2016 by the government of Sierra Leone must be rejected in its entirety, not only by the opposition SLPP, but by all patriotic citizens of this country – at home and abroad.

    I urge all and sundry to stick together in this singular action.

  2. What amazes me is how could the northern province be more populous than the western area, when the city and its environs have been inundated with northerners, to the extent that even up the hills have been occupied by people.

    This census report must be a joke.

  3. We should not be surprised by these figures. Who is ruling this country and where is he from? President Ernest Koroma – and he is from the north.

    Who is the head of Statistics Sierra Leone and where is he from? He is another Koroma and he too is from the North.

    Also check all the various regional and district heads of Statistics SL. The majority are from the north. The APC Government is bent on holding on to power, and if they don’t win the 2017/2018 presidential election, they want to dominate parliament and make parliament uncomfortable for the SLPP.

    They also want to justify the allocation of large proportion of state resources to the North.

    ERNEST YOU STARTED WELL, BUT YOU HAVE SHOWN REGIONAL PARTIALITY IN DEVELOPING ONE REGION AS AGAINST THE REST. WHY? WE ARE ALL AWARE OF WHAT IS HAPPENING IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY AND THIS IS NOT GOOD.

    YOU ARE PRESIDENT OF SIERRA LEONE AND NOT OF THE NORTH. MAJORITY OF THE STREETS IN MAKENI HAVE BEEN TARRED WHILE KENEMA IS SINKING IN POTHOLES AND RUGGED STREETS.

    GOD WILL JUDGE YOU FOR THE SUFFERING AND PARTIAL TREATMENTS FACED BY THOSE IN THE SOUTH AND THE EAST. DURING YOUR REIGN THE NORTH HAS GOT TWO UNIVERSITIES, WHILE KENEMA WHICH STARTED POLYTECHNIC EDUCATION HAS NOT BEEN AWARDED UNIVERSITY STATUS.

    PA LEF O.

  4. The APC of now is walking the same steps taken by the APC of old, which led to the bloody civil war. The south-east is dangerously marginalised and thus brewing tribal and ethnic discontent.

    This blatant rigging of the census is done to keep the APC in power forever. The people have been constrained to a life of abject poverty, as Koroma and his cronies take the nation to the gutter. Somebody needs a word with this man to advise him. But sycophancy is the currency of the political elite.

  5. Greetings from Musa Mondeh. I feel vehemently aggrieved that the 2015 Census is not an accurate counting of the people. I stand by the right people, SLPP. Yes census 2015 is not recommended for the people of the country.

    I am a young man of 18 years old. I living in Waterloo, Freetown.

  6. We should all continue to pray to God for divine intervention as we are seeing the writings on the wall of the APC Party, bent on rigging the 2018 general and presidential elections in their favour.

    Where are we heading in Sierra Leone, where a bunch of people, because of what they are getting from the state, are determined to stay in power at all cost by legalising their crimes and misdeeds with the help of the judiciary as we have been seeing.

    I believe in people’s power, and as we the masses stood for elections before the so-called peace -before -elections in 1996, I believe that the masses in the Northern Province and Western Area in Sierra Leone will stand up and kick this grossly corrupt, incompetent and enemy of progress APC party government out of office.

  7. Mr. Amara Gbellu Luckay: I am in the wilderness, like John The Baptist, preparing the way for a true believer of our Lord Jesus Christ to lead Sierra Leone as a God-fearing nation. As a result, I am by no means voiceless.

    Please see below my posting on February 18, 2016 in The Sierra Telegraph news line regarding the violation of the constitution and misconduct of President Ernest Koroma in dismissing his colleague VP for no good reason. The corrupt and so-called Supreme Court of the country supported his unconstitutional action.

    I called on the sleeping Members of Parliament to wake up and take immediate action, but to no avail. Do not relent; keep on praying for God’s divine intervention in The Land That We Love, Our Sierra Leone. Amen.

    Mustache Moustache February 18, 2016 at 4:02 am

    “How happy am I with these incredible recommendations of the Constitutional Review Committee (CRC) of Sierra Leone. At last, I have been vindicated by the CRC in the significant changes recommended below. May God bless all the members of this very remarkable committee for a job well done.

    Please remember that on January 28, 2016 at exactly 7:48 am I wrote the following piece in The Sierra Leone Telegraph without any contact, whatsoever, with the CRC or its members. As a matter of fact, I live in USA. To God be the glory.

    The Government of President Ernest Koroma is a hogwash, not worth copying by any Sierra Leonean. For it violates the tenets of the constitution beyond belief. The removal from office of the Vice-President without Parliamentary approval or consideration is just one of them. He bypassed the Legislative branch and highhandedly bulldozed Mr. Sam Sumana out of office.

    All what President Koroma needed to do was to see that VP Sumana impeached by Parliament and then act upon the result. That’s the first step in removal from office of any public official, including VP. It is called constitutional democracy practiced in Sierra Leone. And this must be respected as such. But, upon knowing at the time that he does not have the votes in Parliament to indict Mr. Sumana, Ernest Koroma had to dismiss his next-in-command without question. EBK is a big bully. Shame on him.

    However, it is now up to one-half of the MPs to write the Speaker of the House of Parliament alleging that President Koroma has violated the constitution and propose that a tribunal be set up under Section 51 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991, [Misconduct by the President] to immediately investigate this allegation.

    Consequently, I hereby call on all the patriotic Members of Parliament (MPs), both APC and SLPP, to take the necessary steps in our political process as mandated by the Constitution and act immediately on this misconduct of President Ernest Koroma to its tenets with epic dispatch. He is not Supreme, but God is. Amen.

    ‘These three changes are that:

    1.The President and Vice President should not be removed from office if they lose their political party membership after assumption of office.

    2.The President and Vice President should only be removed from office in accordance with the procedures set out in Sec 50 and 51 of the 1991 Constitution.

    3.The term of office of the President should remain as it is in the 1991 Constitution-Maximum of two terms of 5 years each whether the terms are consecutive or not.”

  8. The SLPP parliamentarians do not have the backbone to stand up to this misguided census result. They have shown time and again that they lack the strength or don’t care about the people who voted them into office.

    They have sold their souls to the devil and are now firmly in bed with the devil. The so-called SLPP members of parliament are so incompetent that they are easily taken to the cleaners by the APC crooks for pennies.

    The day of reckoning will come when everyone of them will be made to account for the sins they have committed against our people who are voiceless.

  9. Following the failure of the APC to drum up support for the extension of the presidential term, the party is attempting to use the 2015 provisional census report to prejudice the outcome of the 2018 general and presidential elections.

    The hiking of the population growth in both the Western area and the Northern Province, which is considered their bastion is an indication of their desperation to skew the result of the upcoming 2018 elections.

    It is laughable to suggest that the population of the Northern Province has grown to 2.5 million in 10 years. Had it not been for the presence of the failed mining companies in the Northern Province, I submit that the region may have lost even more people from migration to the Southern and Eastern regions of the country.

    The fact is there is not much going on in the Northern region to account for this unexplainable rise in the population.

    If you are to visit the Southern and Eastern regions of our country, you will soon realize that their is a vast majority of folks who have migrated to these regions from the North, because of economic reasons. After all, these areas are the bread basket of the nation.

    And if the census is based on head count, then these heads should be counted where they are domiciled.

    This Government is tampering with the wellbeing of our nation. Ernest Koroma is brewing discontent that has the potential to open up old wounds and fuel a conflict.

    It is rather unfortunate that we have an opposition that barks, but has no teeth to bite. This type of effrontery demands a serious challenge. But I wonder if the SLPP is up to the fight.

  10. Its a pity that the level of literacy or illiteracy in Sierra Leone – official or otherwise – was not mentioned by the author. Perhaps that could have given readers an inkling behind the REASON for publishing these census results.

    The level of illiteracy is nothing to write home about, even for a Least Developed Country (LDC) which is what Sierra Leone is.

    According to Christiana Thorpe, the erstwhile national electoral boss, she attributed the reason for the huge number of void ballot papers in the last two elections to the high level of illiteracy in the country, which she puts at 75%.

    Thorpe is an educationist if nothing else, and was very recently appointed deputy Minister of Education, so one can accept her illiteracy argument as an approximation if not true.

    Now the REASON for publishing such ridiculous figures is that Statistics Sierra Leone knows fully well that most Sierra Leoneans are illiterate and lack the analytical capability to analyse the census figures, and make historical comparison, so therefore cannot challenge them.

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