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Provisional census figures due March 2016

- says SSL

May 6, 2015 By Regina Pratt

Director of Demographics and Social Statistics at Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL), Peter Sulaiman Bangura, has said that the institution would avail provisional census figures in March 2016.

He was speaking yesterday (5 May) on FM 98.1 on the conduct of the 2015 census, which has twice been postponed because of the Ebola outbreak and following protest by political parties that a credible census would not go ahead in the middle of a serious health emergency.

Also, a local think tank had slammed the process as fundamentally flawed in a report early this year, which generated intense public discourse.

Mr. Bangura said they are well prepared to conduct the census in December 2015, although he stopped short from saying whether issues highlighted by the think tank have been addressed.

He disclosed that this July and August they would advertise for the positions of field officers, supervisors and enumerators, adding that only the actual counting process was postponed as all activities had been carried out.

He said the National Electoral Commission (NEC) should not wait until final results are compiled and finalised before they conduct elections due in either late 2017 or early 2018, because they could use provisional results due in March 2016 to delineate ward and constituency boundaries.

NEC officials have issued a statement highlighting concerns as to whether they could conduct all tiers of national elections without new census results, although they have been elusive as to whether in fact the elections would be postponed beyond 2018 if census results are not available to enable them conduct ward and boundary demarcation.

Eight out of 10 registered political parties, including the ruling All Peoples Congress, have endorsed a position that census results should be out before elections are conducted.

However, the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party has rejected the call, insisting that elections can be held using old census figures.

Another party, the Peoples Movement for Democratic Change, could not take a position on the issue.

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