Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 July 2020:
There was mixed emotions on Tuesday, when news broke that president Bio was going to be on national television – three days after the deadly protest by youths in Makeni, which left five people dead and dozens injured after they were shot by soldiers and police.
Many thought the president was going to talk about the deadly incident, and possibly express sympathy for the bereaved families. They were wrong. The president, a retired Brigadier, chose instead to announce his decision to conduct a mid-term population and housing census at the end of this year.
According to political analysts, the 2020 national census will give the government an opportunity to redraw and make significant changes to the country’s political landscape, which could give the ruling party a massive electoral advantage in 2023.
Conducting a census in the middle of a pandemic is fraught with enormous political risks, as the former government of President Ernest Bai Koroma found out, for which he was heavily criticised by many, expecially by one Julius Maada Bio – leader of the then oppositon SLPP.
This is what Maada Bio said to president Koroma back then: “As we mourn our compatriots who have fallen victim of the deadly Ebola virus – either as health workers or ordinary citizens, and as we all obey the emergency regulations put in place to contain the virus, the ruling APC party is busy putting in place all sorts of clandestine measures to ensure another rigging of the forthcoming local council, presidential and parliamentary elections. One such means is the 2015 Population and Housing Census.”
Today, Julius Maada Bio is at State House as president. This is what he told the people of Sierra Leone, outlining the reasons why he has decided to conduct the 2020 census in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic:
“Fellow Sierra Leoneans, in order to help us plan properly, ensure equitable distribution of resources, and foster economic and social development, Government has decided to conduct a Mid-Term Population and Housing Census across the country this year.
“Data from this Mid-Term Population and Housing Census will undoubtedly inform and guide the implementation of various development programmes including the 2019-2023 Medium Term National Development Plan (MTNDP) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Equally, statistical indicators derived from the census will show progress made and challenges to be addressed in the overall development of the country. Therefore, the conduct of this census and results emanating from it should be treated with the utmost sincerity and professionalism.
“Historically, Sierra Leone, conducted its earliest census in 1802, in what is now known as the Western Area. This was followed in 1901 with a complete count in the Western Area and sample estimates in the provincial areas. Similar censuses were conducted in 1911,1921,1931, and 1948. Modern day Censuses were conducted in 1963, 1974, 1985, 2004 and 2015.
“This Mid-Term Population and Housing Census, as with mid-term population surveys all over the world, will be conducted this year by Statistics Sierra Leone. It will update and take stock of significant gaps in the 2015 Population and Housing Census.
“It will also provide reliable baseline data to assess the impact of the Government’s key development interventions in respect of the Medium-Term National Development Plans (MTNDP) and the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
“I am informed that a new and improved methodology, (Computer-Assisted Personal Interviews – CAPI), will be used for the very first time to conduct a census in this country. This census will be done at no risk to staff and respondents with respect to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
“Fellow Sierra Leoneans, my Government has committed 14 Billion Leones to funding the activities of the Mid-Term Population and Housing Census. The World Bank and the United Nations Population Fund have made significant funding commitments. Other partners have also demonstrated strong interest in supporting this important national exercise.
“I have been advised by the Minister of Planning and Economic Development on the state of preparedness for the Mid- Term Population and Housing Census this year. Statistics Sierra Leone has commenced preparatory activities including the updating of cartographic maps.
“Given this background, I now, hereby, order that a Mid- Term Population and Housing Census of all inhabitants of Sierra Leone commence on the 4th day of December 2020.”
With reference to the mid term housing census which will take place on the 4 Dec 2020. I think this will help the Goverment to factor out some of the problems affecting his developmental plans. I thank you so much for this intelligent or levelheaded conclusion.
Yeah. Dr Francis Kai Kai, Minister of Development and Economic planning, is honestly pushing this whole census project purely for economic reasons, whilst the Bio SLPP KAKISTOCRACY, is trying to hijack the good intentions of Dr Francis Kai Kai for Demographic political gains in my view. That won’t work, because, it’s too late now. They have tried intimidation, violence, incarceration and barbarity against opposition members and their leaders, but all these strategies are being resisted by the courageous people of Sierra Leone, especially people in Freetown, Kono, Koinadugu, Kasierie, Tombo and most recently in Makeni. Now, they want to hijack the good intention of a hard working Minister, with a political base in southern Sierra Leone, to try and target certain people in certain areas who are most likely to vote SLPP or PMDC and SLPP or NGC, by using the stolen Chinese rice to buy votes.
I don’t believe having a new NEC Chairman, Census, national unique citizen registration number or even personalizing the algorithms of the next general elections voting machines will help. People are now done with the Bio SLPP kakistocracy in my view. The best way forward for the Bio SLPP kakistocracy, is to refrain from barbarity, gross human rights violations against the vulnerable and marginalized, and govern Sierra Leone as a government and not as a Bio SLPP kakistocracy. SAD in modern day Sierra Leone to see the SLPP party being hijacked by a Bio SLPP KAKISTOCRACY. God bless Dr Francis Kai Kai.
I think president Maada Bio is living in a parallel universe, compared to the rest of Sierra Leoneans whose every day life is a struggle without, adding another burden of worry that security officers will kill your children or loved ones. That is the last thing we want. Every action by this president seemed to build a wall between his government and tbe people that elected him. The wall of indifference from this president is getting higher and higher. And the way it is trending, we will soon reach for the skies. When they say the sky is the limit, this president has taken it to a whole different level. When I say this president and his government don’t know their priorities for our country, look no further.
Recently, youths were killed in Makeni, for a standby generator, in a dispute with covid 19 front line staff over pay and host of other projects, that requires urgent government action like building centres for rape victims. How to rebuild some parts of the burnt-out buildings at Pademba Road prison, above all else, failing to offer his condolences to bereaved families, or even venturing a statement to the effect. The new pharaoh of Sierra Leone have displayed a complete lack of empathy towards the people of Makeni. Rather he had taken to the air waves like nothing happened. It is a sad state of affairs. We look to the president for leadership, but it has been a monumental failure on his part.The problem is, when he was out of government, he rightly identified the problems that the party in power was doing wrong.
Now that he is in government, he is becoming the problem. He is perpetuating the problems to a dangerous level. I only hope common sense will prevail. Your job approval rating is at an all-time low. You cannot keep doing the same thing and expecting different results. May God bless the Republic of Sierra Leone.
What kind of people are Sierra leoneans? Even Gorillas choose their leaders wisely.(lol). No question, this is hands down the most gullible nation upon the face of the planet earth. Our people are lacking in social intelligence and therefore can be easily tricked and manipulated into embracing any nonsensical ill-considered, shady dubious cause of action. They never ever learn from past mistakes but are susceptible to the same lies over and over again, as if they were running nose itsy-bitsy children. My goodness! How the hell did this tiny shockingly impressionable nation of ours allow our country’s worst criminals to occupy the highest office of the land? It never ends – one lie after the other, one shady trick followed by a strange suspicious underhanded ploy, just so that these uncultured, palm wine drinking tribalists can continue holding on to power.