Bogus 2015 Population Census Data: Was the Statistics Sierra Leone Census Data an APC Party Political Hack Job?
Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL) having expended billions of Leones of public and donor funds produced a mostly bogus and inflated population and housing census document, with figures lacking in credibility and heavily skewed towards creating the sort of political environment the nation is currently witnessing in the wake of the 2018 elections.
Data from the 2015 Population and Housing Census of Sierra Leone, which among other public development data indices forms the cog around which are demarcated parliamentary constituency boundaries, reported the nation’s population at a staggering 7,075,641. In contrast to the nation’s 2004 census population of 4,976,871 and the 1985 population pegged at 3,515,812, there is, however, no discernible driver to account for such an increase other than political expediency and gerrymandering.
The astronomical increase in population growth between 2004 and 2015, representing an approximately 50% in a country of such high mortality, coupled with a devastating impact on the population by a 10-year brutal civil war, an Ebola epidemic, flooding and catastrophe mudslides, renders the census figures mostly suspect. Now it is viewed as a political foundation document for the governing APC party.
Since known statistical drivers of population growth cannot, therefore, account for the bogus census figures reported by Statistics Sierra Leone, the events that have subsequently unfolded in the political arena resulting in the codification of a permanent skewed political constituency boundary delimitation in favor of the governing APC party deserves further critical analysis.
The APC government-conducted census saw its traditional support areas, the Northern Province and the Western district, urban and rural, recording a 43% and 58% increase in population growth respectively, while minuscule growth was recorded in the South and Eastern Provinces- traditionally opposition strongholds. For example, in the 2004 census, the total population of the Northern Province was 1.746 million, which had catapulted to 2.5 million in the 2015 census.
Thus, because of the increased bogus population figures, Statistics Sierra Leone produced in 2015, President Koroma and the APC party were able to establish two new districts and added 20 additional parliamentary seats mainly in the Northern Province, resulting in an enlarged Parliament from 112 seats to 132 seats.
If this status quo is allowed to continue, it will result in a perpetual inbuilt advantage to the Northern Province, and by extension, the APC of at least 20 parliamentary seats even before the contention of any elections.
It will be mainly due to the traditional voting patterns and trends in the country, where regional voting is mostly the order of the day.
A cursory review of the 2018 NEC voting data shows that of the purported 2.5 million population in the Northern Province, only 778,487 people registered and voted in the 2018 elections.
The voters are broken down as follows by Districts: Bombali recorded 154,978 voters; Falaba, 42,684 voters; Koinadugu reported a total 60,400; Tonkolili, 159,300 voters; Kambia 107,729; Karene recorded 80,153 voters, and Port Loko, 173,243 voters. Thus, this leaves a whole unaccounted for including children under age to vote totaling 1.7 million from the census figures.
Moreover, the other majority APC traditional voting stronghold in the Western areas, witnessed a population increase from 947,122 in the 2004 Census to approximately 1. 5 million in the 2015 Census, representing a population increase of 58%. Voting data from NEC shows that 221,702 voted in the western rural while an additional 510,432 voters registered and voted in the Western Urban.
Where then are the other voters that the census recorded or were the figures padded to ensure an unfair political gain to the APC?
The census data from Statistics Sierra Leone will have one to believe that of the total population of seven million and seventy-five thousand and six hundred and forty-one ( 7,075,641 ) only 2,676,549 voters registered and cast ballots in the 2018 elections.
The disparity undoubtedly does not add up, and the population figure appears concocted to ensure APC party dominance not only in Parliament but also in the executive office at State House.
Sierra Leone needs to revisit this blatant hoax that Statistics Sierra Leone has perpetrated on our nation.