National Election Watch (NEW), one of Sierra Leone’s elections monitoring organizations is coming under intense scrutiny in recent times ever since it released a statement that was highly critical of the provisional results of the recent mid-term population census.
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An unnamed source claiming to be part of the NEW setup, took a swipe at the leadership of the organization, levying accusations of lack of inclusivity on positions taken. Allegations have been rife that the general body of NEW has not been consulted in the organization’s decision-making process on matters of national concern.
Officials of NEW have reportedly been dismissive of the outbursts by the person(s) believed to be a member of the organization.
But some sources say the leadership of NEW must not shrug this off as an isolated incident, as it could be a precursor to more brazen allegations in the future that could damage the reputation of the organization.
Another recent social media post gave a very bad picture of the Chairperson of NEW Marcella Samba Sesay, of her being undemocratic in her running of the organization. Marcella has been very outspoken on national issues over the years related to democratic governance. But her critics say she is running the organization without any transparency.
NEW had reacted to the census results, released by Statistics Sierra Leone on 31 May 2022, with a strong position statement in which it called on the government not to use the census data for any development program. NEW had asked that the process be declared null and void saying civil society and other organizations were not included.
NEW is a coalition of civil society organizations and community-based organizations across Sierra Leone.
Senior members of the All Peoples Congress (APC) party were on social media calling on their supporters to boycott the census. The party has also disputed the results of the headcount. The government seemed bent on going ahead with the data presented by Statistics Sierra Leone.
But Statistician-General Professor Osman Sankoh has in a recent engagement said he stood by the results of the
census. Sounding unflustered, he said they did a job and presented the outcome.
Meanwhile, the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone has asked Statistics Sierra Leone for the full data of the census. It is believed the commission is to study the census data for possible boundary delimitation of constituencies and wards.
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