May 18, 2016 By Mohamed Massaquoi
A cross-section of flag bearer aspirants of the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), including Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio, Alie Kabbah and Andrew Keilie, have called on the National Electoral Commission (NEC) not to go ahead with the boundary delimitation process based on the 2015 provisional census figures recently published by Statistic Sierra Leone and endorsed by the government.
Mr. Bio said a credible census would help promote development in the country, adding that that was the more reason they are asking NEC not to embark on any process that has the potential of depriving Sierra Leoneans. He added that the SLPP was not only concerned about the political aspect of boundary delimitation, but the negative economic and social impact on the people in the situation where wrong figures are being used.
“We are calling on NEC not to go ahead with the boundary delimitation; the SLPP is calling for dialogue so that we can better understand how Statistics Sierra Leone carried out the process. This is not only for SLPP but Sierra Leoneans, it is premature to use this set of data to delimitate boundaries across the country,” he said
Another aspirant, Andrew Keilie, also said the contentious 2015 provisional census result was a concern to all of them and that every effort should be made by the authorities to consider the position of the party.
In a press statement, the party reiterated that the exclusion of the party’s representative on the technical committee of statistics Sierra Leone created serious credibility concerns.
“They have since empanelled an internal technical committee of eminent statisticians, demographers and economists to critically examine the census figures as published by SSL.
“The internal technical committee established credibility issues with the prudential figures. The projected population for 2014 obtained from SSL, was 6,348,350. It concludes using population annual growth rate of 2.22% between 2010-2015, obtained from the UN population division department of economic and social affairs, projected for 2015 was 6,489,283, compared to 2015 provisional figure of 7,075,661. This means that the provisional figures exceeded the projected figure by 586,378.
“The excess figure is sported by the following fact. The level of fertility has declined over the years. Total fertility rate was 6.3 children per woman in 1985 but declined to 6.1 in 2004,” the release states.