With 2014 Population Census postponed from April 2015 to December 2015 by Statistics Sierra Leone, due to the outbreak of the deadly ebola virus disease, the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has clearly insisted that the election be held on their due dates whether or not the census are postponed.
This was disclosed in a position paper read yesterday by Dr. Abass Bundu, during a press briefing held at the party’s headquarters conference hall.
Giving the opening remarks in the press briefing, the National Chairman of the SLPP, Chief Sumano Kapen, disclosed that the country’s economy is in a bad state and the educational sector is also in a state of collapse, as the health sector was stripped naked by the ebola outbreak that came unannounced.
He maintained that what is more of concern to them is the present state of predicament the youths are going through, as the hope of tomorrow depends on the youths of today, explaining that the present state of the youths have become a security risk saying that ‘an idle mind is the devil’s workshop’.
According to the Party’s Chairman, despite the fact that eight political parties including the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) party have taken sides in support for the Census to be held before elections are conducted, they as the main opposition party have taken their own side together with the People Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) for elections to be conducted on their due dates.
“We must not treat this lightly as it is the beginning of an agenda, as we begin to sense it for either a term extension which if it fails, then the other option is for the third term. This is why we want to alert the media especially having in mind the just concluded Heads of States and Government meetings at the ECOWAS forum, wherein the issue of third term was discussed and reach a conclusion that ‘it is the people that have to decide wherever such issue arises’” he recalled.
Chief Kapen disclosed that they at the SLPP, believe that should have not been the rational approach as in certain States, as a member of the ECOWAS, the Constitution makes provision for two terms in some states including Sierra Leone where leaders should not act beyond two terms whether consecutively or not.
Presenting the party’s position paper in response to the “Position Paper” recently received from and published by the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Dr. Abass Bundu, maintained that NEC is purporting to suggest that because of the postponement of the National Census, necessitating a deferment of a possible review of electoral boundaries, there should therefore be a consequential postponement of the forthcoming Local Council and the Parliamentary and Presidential Elections as scheduled.
He states that the SLPP is unable to accept the reasons advanced by the NEC for the proposed deferment of these elections as either justified or warranted in law and in fact and hereby demands and insists that the NEC is under a legal obligation to conduct those elections on their due dates in conformity with the mandatory provisions of the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991 (Act No. 6 of 1991).
“We would like to lay particular emphasis on this legal obligation on the NEC at this time as the nation is moving irreversibly and unchangeably towards the mandatory end of the current presidential term of office and the parliamentary and local council electoral lifespan as stipulated in the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991 (Act No. 6 of 1991), the Local Government Act 2004, the Public Elections Act 2012, and the relevant subsidiary laws, as respectively applicable.
In other words, we are calling for the Elections to be held on their due dates whether the National Census is postponed or not” he opined.
Dr. Bundu disclosed that a former Head of Statistics Sierra Leone (SSL) of over ten years ago, Professor Bob Kandeh, based himself upon information available from comprehensive population maps nation-wide in digital format already “updated for the 2015 census” and the possibility of using preliminary census results there from (when made available in March 2016) for the forthcoming boundary delimitation purposes.
He states that according to the Professor, there are current maps of all sections/wards, chiefdoms and districts in digital format for the whole country, with total population figures. This information was used to do the 2006 parliamentary and 2007 local council delimitations. The maps have already been updated for the 2015 census and the population information can be quickly added after the preliminary census results are made available in March 2016.
Tuesday May 26, 2015