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As Donors Raise Concern … Census Report Embarrasses President Koroma

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As Donors Raise Concern … Census Report Embarrasses President Koroma

Global Times can authoritatively report that President Ernest Bai Koroma has expressed serious concern and reservation over the alleged ‘fraudulent handling’ so far of the 2015 National Population and Housing Census as highlighted in a recent report issued by the Institute for Governance Reform (IGR).
According to State House sources, civil society activists met early this week with the Head of State at State House to discuss a number of burning national issues among them the IGR report which accuses Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL) of manipulating census data and stacking the management team with unqualified APC loyalists.
Our sources say President Koroma was ‘visibly embarrassed’ by the IGR allegation especially as the civil society activists point to it as a critical governance issue hinging on the security of the state. The President is said to have promised to look into the report with an open mind.
Meanwhile, there are reports that Sierra Leone’s development partners are also quietly discussing the report taking into account the implication for security and development. Like President Koroma, development partners have also raised serious concern over the conduct so far of the national census, which the IGR report claims is in forty percent error based on the analysis of the SSL document.
According to impeccable sources, donors are gearing up to propose to government, a number of practical actions needed to sanitize the census process with the view to ensuring that every head is counted and counted only once.
One proposal which state and non-state actors seem to be warmed to however is the postponement of the census to December 2015. The country’s registered Political Parties recently called on President Koroma to postpone the census because of the Ebola.
The IGR had argued in that widely publicized report that the postponement of the census was necessary to provide ample time to revisit the entire process for the sake of credibility. “It is our humble suggestion that the census is postponed earliest December 2015 or to April 2016 to correct those anomalies that have raised doubt over the census process”, Andrew Lavali, the IGR Director said during the launch of the report in Freetown recently.

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