By Alfred Koroma
Human Rights Defenders Network (HRDN-SL) has in its press statement condemned the politicization of the Mid-Term Census provisional results, saying linking the census to elections is not in the interest of the security and development of the country.
HRDN-SL commends the work done by Statistic Sierra Leone for providing what it referred to as a ‘detailed picture/data of social and living conditions of Sierra Leone’ and largely blamed the outcome of the Census on the bad politics in the country. HRDN-SL briefed the media in a press conference organized yesterday at itsRasmosson Street office.
Speaking at the event, Chairman, Board of Directors of the Network, Solomon Sogbandi, said the Mid-Term Census had huge logistical challenges but politicization of the census added to the problem. He said political parties in opposition abused the essence of the census, calling it a big slap on the country.
Prior to the commencement of the actual counting of the population, the leadership of some political parties publicly instructed and misguided their supporters not to participate in the data collection, causing the decrease in the population of some areas in the country, HRDN-SL press statement says.
The Network called on citizens to put the content of the National Pledge into practice as the nation approach the 2023 general elections, suggesting that government engage all stakeholders to discuss the outcomes and implementation of the Mid-Term Population and Housing Census.
The Network also called Statistics to ensure all data generated during the census be captured in the final results and where possible, create opportunity for Sierra Leoneans who have not been document to do so, and urged political parties and their leadership to fully respect the national symbols of the country and particularly the National Pledge.
The Mid-Term Census was conducted to address the challenges of the 2015 census, generate credible population and housing Census data midway between 2015 and 2025.
But the Census also encountered series of challenges during the data collection process. World Bank withdrew its technical and financial support and opposition political parties’ call to boycott the process, making the country’s first Mid-Term Census unpopular.