Liberia: Rep. Youquoi Makes Last-Minute Appeal to Postpone Census Amid Poor, Uncoordinated Planning

Monrovia — Representative Larry P. Younquoi (ANC, District #8, Nimba County) has launched an eleventh-hour bid to push for the postponement of Liberia’s already-delayed National Population and Housing Census (NPHC).

“Distinguish colleagues, I am appealing to this august body to kindly mandate the speaker to liaise with the leadership of the senate to have the Legislature savage the on-going process by putting a halt to it and increases the oversight of the Legislature over the whole exercise while directing LISGIS and partners to recalibrate the process in order to lend it to producing the desired result,” Rep. Younquoi said in a communication to plenary of the House.

Weah’s declaration

Rep. Younquoi’s plea comes as President George Weah declared Tuesday, November 8, 2022, as “National Census Day;” calling for it to be observed as a national holiday throughout the country.

According to a Foreign Ministry release, the 2022 National Population and Housing Census, which commences from Tuesday, November 8, 2022 to be declared as Census Night will enable the enumerators to begin the household listing.

The Proclamation calls on all ministries and agencies of government, enterprises (Large or small), the patriotism and loyalty of every citizen and to the goodwill of every foreign national as well as local government officials to assist the census authorities in explaining, influencing, and endorsing the participation of everybody in this massive, national undertaking, given the advantages and usefulness of the Census to the overall national socio-economic development to the country.

The Proclamation further mentioned that the census shall be conducted and directed by the Liberia Institute of Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) in the most expeditious manner, but its success shall be dependent upon the total involvement of all citizens and foreign residents within the borders as well as all Liberian citizens residing abroad to mobilize the resources and administrative machinery necessary for the implementation and execution of this project.

‘President Weah was ill-advised’

The census was originally scheduled from October 24, 2022 to November 7, 2022, but has been rescheduled for November 7- 27, 2022.

However, Rep. Younquoi, who chairs the House Committee on Good Governance and the House’s chief census expert said since the extension of the census night, followed by the adoption of a new Joint- Resolution by the Legislature, “The entire process is still characterized by chaotic conditions ranging from poor recruitment, poor and uncoordinated training, inadequate logistical endowment of LISGIS’s county offices, chaotic payment process of census workers, among other short comings.”

Rep Younquoi said while the outstanding issues are yet to be fully addressed, the President may have been ill-advised to issue the proclamation. He termed the government’s determination to conduct the census despite these challenges as disturbing, considering the sensitivity of the census data.

His communication was greeted with mixed reaction from the floor. Rep. Ivar Jones (District Margibi #2, Margibi County), in a motion, called for the request to be denied as the Legislature has already passed a joint resolution approving the conduct of the census which was signed by the President.

However, Rep. Gray, in his amendment, pleaded for the leadership of both the House of Representatives and Liberian Senate to convened an emergency meeting today to review Rep. Younquoi’s request.

The much-delayed census has been marred by controversy. It is still haunted by a chaotic recruitment exercise that sparked several protests across the country. In recent days, dozens of enumerators have taken the streets of several cities either begging for food or calling on LISGIS to give their allowances.

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