By Lawrence Williams
It is understood that an exercise of boundary delimitation will be conducted by the Electoral Commission based on the preliminary data of the 2021 Mid-Term Population and Housing Census.
In a letter dated June 2, Mohamed Konneh (photo), Chief Electoral Commissioner, requested that the Statistician General provide him with the official population figures for every locality in the country. This request is intended to guide the demarcation of constituencies and wards.
However, it’s crucial to note that the provisional results of the Mid-Term Population and Housing Census for 2021 have been largely contested, and even rejected outright by opposition parties and a credible elections watchdog group called National Elections Watch (NEW).
Leader of the Opposition Hon. Chernor R. M. Bah, a practicing lawyer and legislator with over 15 years’ experience, referred to the census as illegal, flawed, and incredulous. He said this is because the Census Instrument was not properly submitted to Parliament. As a result, the Electoral Commissioner was cautioned not to redraw electoral boundaries on the basis of these “flawed” data.
The National Elections Watch also said the data is flawed and does not accurately reflect the demographic characteristics of the country.
While many other groups and individuals have discredited the census results, the government and the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party have welcomed them.
The World Bank withdrew from the whole exercise on 7 December 2021 citing several irregularities with the pilot census and the training of enumerators. Since then, opposition parties and their supporters have intensified their boycott.
The Bank stated, in less than 48 hours to the census exercise, that “all these outstanding actions are necessary and must be addressed prior to commencing data collection to minimize the risk of inadequate and poor data quality.”
Freetown City Council presented its analysis of the census results on Thursday night. In the analysis, official government data are cited, which clearly show the growth of the Western Urban population. In contrast to the downward trajectory of Western Urban population figures released by Statistics Sierra Leone, the facts presented by the FCC indicate that the urban population has been rising since 2004.