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The 2022 Census is a fraud

-Ten opposition parties reject provisional result

By Lincoln G. Peters  

Ten opposition political parties in Liberia including the main opposition Unity Party (UP) have jointly rejected a recently announced provisional national census result.

The parties jointly petitioned the Liberian Legislature Thursday, 9 March 2023 not to use the figures released by the National Population and Housing Census to set the population threshold for constituencies and to reapportion electoral boundaries.

The opposition political parties also petitioned the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the diplomatic missions near Monrovia against honoring the provisional census results.

Their rejection of the census results comes with just less than eight months to the conduct of the 2023 presidential and legislative elections due 10 October.

The opposition political parties that have rejected the census results include the former ruling Unity Party, All Liberian Party (ALP), Liberty Party (LP), Movement for Democracy and Reconstruction (MDR), and Liberian People’s Party (LPP).

Others are Vision for Liberia Transformation Party (VOLT), Movement for Progressive Change (MPC), and Rainbow Alliance, among others.

Article 39 of the Constitution of Liberia provides for the holding of a National Population and Housing Census every ten years to inform government policy and decision-making for the socio-economic and political development of the country.

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Also, Article 80 (d) requires that the result of the census shall be used by the Legislature to establish the population threshold for each constituency and also requires that the National Elections Commission reapportion constituencies and electoral boundaries within the republic.

Following the conduct of the 2008 census, Liberia dragged conducting the subsequent census which was scheduled for 2018, till 2022.

Addressing a joint press conference at the Unity Party headquarters, UP Chairman Rev. Luther Tarpeh said they strongly reject the preliminary census result.

According to him, the National Population and Housing Census is bogus and fraudulent, therefore, it should not be given space and consideration in the country. Rev. Tarpeh claimed that the census result has the propensity to stir conflict and hinder development.

He added that the government delayed the census much beyond the stipulated constitutional time frame and the census result is also fraudulent and anti-democratic.

He contended that the opposition political parties found the preliminary census report clouded with inherent manipulation of figures, especially with a concentration in the Southeastern counties of Grand Kru, River Gee, and Grand Gedeh.

“We the major opposition political parties and national leaders have resolved to the following: We reject the preliminary result of the 2022 National Housing and Population Census recently released by LISGIS,” said Rev. Tarpeh.

“We, therefore, call on the Legislature and the National Elections Commission not to use the figures of the census to set population threshold for constituencies and to reapportion electoral boundaries,’’ Rev. Tarpeh warned.

The UP chairperson pointed out that the census from the very onset, showed a clear sign of being a failure, on account of the poor handling of the process.

He argued that it was superimposed further by claims and counterclaims of corruption within the leadership of LISGIS.

Rev. Tarpeh asserted that throughout the duration of the census, scores of citizens across the length and breadth of Liberia were alarmed over the failure LISGIS to have them counted in this important national system.

Chairman Tarpeh further indicated that in consideration of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, restraining states party from effecting change in national or electoral law six months before a pending election and the Supreme Court of Liberia opinion baring the NEC and the Legislature from deciding with the constitutional implication is unacceptable.

He, however, urged the NEC and the Legislature to refrain from proceeding with any elections-related decision, using the result of the National Population and Housing Census.

“However, in view of the aforementioned, we call on the National Legislature, and the National Elections Commission to proceed with the conduct of the 2023 presidential and legislative elections using the existing electoral boundaries,” the opposition parties said.

“We also convey profound appreciation to our international partners for their unwavering support to the attainment of lasting peace and for their untiring efforts aimed at consolidating pluralistic democracy in Liberia,’’ Rev. Tarpeh added.

Receiving the opposition’s petition at the Legislature, Lofa County Senator Joseph Jallah, and Lofa County Representative Clarence Massaquoi promised to take the request seriously, describing it as a national concern.

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