By: Stephen G. Fellajuah
The Liberia National Student’s Union (LINSU) has expressed dismay over the discrepant conduct of the 2022 Population & Housing Census being carried out by the ‘Liberia Institute of Statistics & Geo-Information Services-LISGIS’.
LINSU noted that given the national importance of the 2022 Population and housing Census to the ensuing general and presidential elections, as well as statistics on geo-information services in this technological era, it expected that LISGIS have worn a more responsible garment for the conduct of this process other than the playacting that is being exhibited.
Addressing a major press conference on October 24, 2022 at its national headquarters in Monrovia, LINSU President Mohammed Gandhi Kamara said, having followed the enumerators training carried out by LISGIS last week, and the upsurge of spontaneous conflicts from training centers surrounding the arbitrary omission of names of enumerators who successfully passed the evaluation examination administered by LISGIS and its partners, the harmonization of stipends/compensation of enumerators who sat the training and the deliberate refusal of LISGIS to remit finances to enumerators for more over 48 hours since the training, the act of misinformation and disinformation coming from LISGIS official communication handles and other prominent executives of the institution, the student body said it is disappointed that these and many others internal wrangling might hampered the collection of these essential data.
“We are calling on the Government of Liberia through all its appropriate bodies and organs to see the need of having these many contradictions resolved in an effort to prevent a possible breakdown of the entire process which might pose a major threat to the 2023 general elections and the peace and stability of the country.”, Mr. Kamara pointed out.
The outcome of the ensuing National Population and Housing Census in Liberia risks being inadequate as a result of the growing wave of disenchantments and misunderstanding which continue to characterize the entire process.
The conduct of the census, which was lastly scheduled for October 24, has suffered series of setbacks ranging from allegations of corruption involving authorities at the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS), irregularities, including poor timing, ineffectiveness, and inefficiency in the training of enumerators, among others.
The just-ended training for enumerators was marred by controversies, protests, and disenchantments across the country.
The failure of LISGIS to provide feeding, timely transportation reimbursement, and lodging for those who attended the training triggered civil disobedience and protests in the various counties, stalling regular movement of people, goods and services.
Last week it was reported that in Cape Mount, hundreds of aggrieved citizens,staged a major protest, setting roadblocks in demand of their stipend (transportation & feeding) promised to them by LISGIS prior to the start of the training.
According to report, the aggrieved enumerators lamented that for the ten days of the training, LISGIS made them to transport and feed themselves contrary to what they were told by the local county structure in Grand Cape Mount through the county’s director Mr. Usuma B. Kanneh.
The aggrieved enumerators continued to threaten to stage protest action in the country if LISGIS failed to provide them their stipend.
However, the census is expected to provide additional constituencies, ahead of the 2023 general and presidential elections in Liberia.