Andrew Keili: Sierra Leone Telegraph: Eight March 2020:
By all accounts, the Nationwide Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) appears to have been doing an excellent job. NCRA has accountability for the continual, everlasting and obligatory recording of occurrences and traits of significant occasions together with births, deaths, marriages, divorces, nullities, adoptions and so forth.
Anybody who has been to some businesses to gather important statistics would remorse bringing frustration on oneself-an Establishment like “Births and Deaths” had way back forgotten when it was born and is now actually lifeless. NCRA had additionally embarked upon producing securitized and serially numbered Births and Deaths certificates.
The Authority below the management of its Director, Mohamed Massaquoi has acquired accolades from a number of UN businesses for its improvement of holistic and sustainable civil registration, important statistics and identification administration methods.
NCRA additionally appeared to have the cooperation of the varied political events till just lately when the Authority was accused by them of overreaching its mandate. NCRA’s crime?-the use of a 9-letter-word-“elections” in an announcement from the DG!
There have been press conferences accompanied by press releases from the APC and NGC, stating that NCRA has no enterprise with voter registration and that NEC would make the most of the data offered as one of many helpful instruments in its arsenal to facilitate election registration.
Opposition events appeared to insinuate the likelihood existed for NCRA to finally manipulate the information offered NEC for extraction of voter register info. The Appearing NEC Chairman, Edmund Alpha categorically denied this, confirming that the standard checks and balances could be in place for voter registration and verification of knowledge.
This appears to have blown over a bit however is hardly shocking, given the hostile political environment that at present exists between the political events. There may be all the time suspicion nonetheless when counting individuals in Sierra Leone-whether it’s in a proper nationwide census or another census like that carried out by NCRA.
A number of accusations have been levied towards Statistics Sierra Leone after the 2015 census bordering on issues about “the cartographic mapping and the non clear and skewed recruitment course of for added employees which is predicated on political loyalties”. The truth that information from such a census would later information coverage formulation, planning, useful resource allocation and boundary delimitation for each Parliamentary and Native Council elections made this into one other struggle.
On this explicit NCRA registration course of, the principle concern appears to be about elections. Usually censuses play many roles reminiscent of gathering social and financial information; informing planning insurance policies reminiscent of on affirmative motion for marginalised communities. Additionally they assist analysis on social phenomena.
It’s due to this fact not shocking for individuals to get suspicious in a charged environment. In each Kenya and Ethiopia, ethnicity and politics are carefully linked. Views on ethnic inclusion or exclusion by way of the census lens are due to this fact necessary. The Nigerian story is nonetheless traditional. An article on Nigeria’s 1962 census reported thus:
“Southern politicians in search of to finish the north’s dominance of Nigerian politics determined that the one technique to do it was by way of the census. Inhabitants figures on the time decided not solely parliamentary illustration but additionally income allocation and worker distribution within the civil service. Though the ultimate outcomes of this census weren’t made public, the preliminary outcomes have been fairly clear as to what had occurred: the north’s inhabitants had gone up from 16.5 million within the final census in 1952 to 22.5 million, a rise of 30%. However in some elements of the east, the inhabitants had elevated by as much as 200% and greater than 70% typically. The west additionally reported a rise of 70%.
“What the preliminary outcomes confirmed was that the north had misplaced its majority share of the nation’s inhabitants. The northern leaders weren’t about to take that mendacity down. A brand new census was held in 1963 and this time, a further 8.5 million individuals have been found within the north, bringing the overall to 31 million for the north. One other census was carried out a decade later in 1973 however was so hotly disputed and produced unbelievable figures that the federal government merely nullified the consequence.”
The Nigerians now appear to have solved their census drawback.
Coming again to Sierra Leone, allow us to put politics apart and contemplate different facets of our each day life. It could really be true that politicians and politically motivated persons are not the one ones who can’t depend appropriately.
Is it not true that earlier than the latest implementation of the biometric registration system, we have now not been in a position to depend lecturers appropriately over the previous 20 years? And, lest I neglect, does this not additionally lengthen to civil servants? And guess what?-the ghosts that have been counted nonetheless acquired salaries!
Those that have been on political campaigns together with yours actually will let you know that when it will get to distributing meals or any monetary largesse, the quantity proffered by the organisers is all the time significantly greater than the precise quantity. The benefactors?-the organisers! Folks even declare positions falsely, as the upper you’re the extra you get.
My expertise with youngsters in my neighbourhood tells me the issue could lengthen to the subsequent technology. I’ve the behavior of giving out treats to youngsters on my road when driving house over weekends. The numbers was once manageable however success breeds extra success and I’ve observed the precise numbers have doubled- little doubt phrase will get round.
However this, I nonetheless observe some dishonest as I may generally acknowledge the identical child who seems at my left window reappear on the proper one. And so I’ve taken two on for a price (with double parts for a price) as “safety guards” to establish doublers (potential Bo college college students) and the dishonest has minimized. Earlier than this I might name an grownup to do the distribution-yes, you guessed it- they stored a share for themselves!
Malaysian employees at Rutile had a brand new technique of counting the bottles of beer they drank as unscrupulous barmen have been fleecing them left, proper and heart. No barman was allowed to clear the bottles. Certainly one of their lot – a teetotaller would depend all of the bottles on the finish of the binge and pay the invoice.
However my greatest story is the cow with three legs. This story is as reported by considered one of my Bo college associates. A really senior member of OBBA was requested to purchase and butcher a cow for an Affiliation occasion. After butchering, some mathematically mined man resolve to depend the legs- solely there have been discovered. The reason of the customer was simple-It was an amputee cow!
This counting business-No surprise a famed the famed village Head Trainer would characteristically shout at his students-“One, two, three, four-both of you come right here!
However again to the problem of political benefits in numbers. I’ve even had arguments about which is the biggest tribe- Mende or Temne-and have seen conflicting statistics, generally relying on the federal government in energy. Thank God the endangered Krios know they can not be a part of this competition-they simply lurk within the nook and chuckle.
After we get to something to do with elections, we should be doubly cautious, as miscounting or suspicions of it may spark unrest, particularly as politics now tends to pose an existential risk to some gamers.
The NCRA was really shaped in the course of the tenure of the earlier authorities and each NCRA and NEC had made some errors within the registration course of which have been later rectified earlier than the presentation of the ultimate voters register. NEC, as mandated by the Structure, organised all previous voter registration processes.
Earlier than the final election the state bought, on behalf of the newly created NCRA, 3,800 (+266 spare ones) registration kits to launch the overall civil registration. However, attributable to a scarcity of time, sources and capability on the a part of the NCRA, this bold mission was not accomplished. Given the time strain, the NEC, possessing the mandatory experience, needed to conduct a model new registration of individuals older than 17 years between 20 March and 30 April 2017.
On the identical time, nonetheless, the NEC admitted that the information of 39,276 individuals included within the closing determine, have been lacking within the digital database (particularly attributable to broken-down biometric registration machines). In the middle of September the NEC reconstructed the lacking information from handbook registration kinds and journals.
However, images of 23,520 individuals have been nonetheless lacking, however for a substantial a part of the affected voters they have been recaptured in the course of the voter ID course of.
The NEC managed to reprint and redistribute most of those playing cards three weeks earlier than the election day within the seven affected districts. Stakeholders, together with civil society organisations who noticed the registration train, thought-about the voter register to be inclusive and credible.
NCRA ought to positively proceed with its registration course of, which can have immense advantages to this nation and supply value financial savings in lots of areas. It definitely behooves the events to assist the method and make it as credible as potential for extraction of knowledge by NEC. As was seen earlier than the final election and as has been assured by the NEC Chairman, the accuracy of the voter registration rests with NEC who even with slippages can rectify the state of affairs.
Fairly rightly the NCRA and NEC have been developing with responses to those allegations to assuage the fears of the opposition political events. The very last thing we would like is to have one other trigger for one occasion to really feel it’s being handled unfairly, with the concomitant insecurity it may create. Certainly, we will do the first rate factor to depend and register appropriately.
The problem for now could be larger than counting. It’s a matter of TRUST when that 9-letter word-elections is used. Come on NCRA and NEC-just do what is true for Sierra Leone-even if you need to rent abacuses as in days of yore. And as for the events, undertake the Reagan theory-“Belief however confirm”. And while we’re at it- Can we Sierra Leoneans in numerous spheres of life additionally be taught to depend appropriately?