Statistician General, Mohamed King Koroma, has stated that they at Statistics Sierra Leone are ‘professionals and not politicians’.
Koroma was speaking to journalists yesterday during the weekly press briefing at the Ministry of Information and Communication conference room, Youyi Building, in Freetown.
He was reacting to scathing criticisms from especially the main opposition party, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party, that the provisional Census 2015 results were “cooked” by Statistics Sierra Leone.
The results gives the population of Sierra Leone slightly above seven million, with the northern region having the highest – above 2.5 million – among the four geopolitical regions in the country.
He explained that before the start of the census process, a technical committee was created comprising technical people with knowledge in statistics, data management and data collection to direct and advice in the process.
He said the committee was inaugurated on 17 January, 2013, with civil society activists, members from the university, Sierra Leone Teachers Union, Labour Congress, United Nations, Statistics Council and political parties represented in Parliament.
He said they also included a chief technical adviser, unlike the 2004 census which he claimed was a one man show.
According to the Statistician General, the presence of representatives from the international community brought credibility, inclusiveness, participation and transparency to the census process.
He said people expected that the population of the Western Urban Areaq, which comprises the densely populated Freetown, would be around 2 million, but vehemently rejected that assertion, arguing that the Western Area comprises two districts – Western Rural and Western Urban – with the former growing rapidly, unlike the latter.
He explained that the population in Freetown during the day is mainly from the Western Rural District and Lungi, who come to trade in the morning and leave in the evening.
He assured Sierra Leoneans that Statistics Sierra Leone does not manufacture false figures and emphasised that the provisional result was the outcome of the census last December, and that the final result would be out this December.
However, Professor Bob Kandeh, a member of the technical committee representing the opposition SLPP, said on Radio Democracy FM98.1 that he was excluded from the crucial part of the process when they were due to give validity and reliability to the process. The erstwhile boss of Statistics Sierra Leone added that the opposition challenges the demographic spread represented in the census result, as well as demand to see the technical report of the post-census validation report.