Was President Weah’s Proclamation Requesting All To Remain At Home Friday For LIGIS Enumerators Termed Fiasco?

Acting LISGIS boss WIlmot Smith

Several Liberians who were anticipating to be counted by Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) enumerators around the city of Monrovia and its environs based on President Weah’s proclamation that all Liberians should remain at their respective home were left in isolation as the presence of said enumerators from LIGIS could not be found.

Citizens who stayed home from their respective working places with the hope of been visited by enumerators to be counted as part of LIGIS statuary duties were disheartened due to the whereabouts of the visit of much talked LIGIS enumerators coming to their respective home.

Few days ago, aggrieved enumerators of the Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-Information Services (LISGIS) threatened to seize electronic gadgets and boycott data collection process if they do not receive pay, observers who spoke to GNN staff blamed today’s action of the invincibility of enumerators around Monrovia and its environs.

According to information gathered by the GNN has revealed that 17,071 (seventeen thousand seventy-one) persons were selected and asked to sit an aptitude test.  At the climax of the test, LISGIS promised to feed, transport, and provide US$20 stipend daily to successful candidates, amounting to US$100 for each trainee attending a five-day workshop.

According to an aggrieved enumerator, Prince Weah  who spoke to a local daily, (no relations to President Weah) a dime wasn’t paid for the five days of sitting, and enumerators fed themselves from morning to evening, thus leading to violent protests in some parts of the country, with Grand Bassa county being one of the areas affected.

Following the President’s proclamation for a holiday, many enumerators expressed dismayed over LISGIS’ failure to pay, threatening to seize electronic gadgets that will be used to conduct the census. They also threatened to boycott the data collection process on Friday, if they do not receive pay.

Speaking via a phone call, another enumerator Miamah Sickey from Caldwell expressed disappointment in LISGIS.

She says LISGIS continues to assure the public that census will be conducted this Friday, November 11, without paying enumerators, maintaining that they will boycott the data collection.

Besides, Finance Minister Samuel Tweah told ELBC radio on Tuesday, November 8, that a total of 500 individuals have been paid, while the remaining 592 will be paid subsequently, urging those in such category to exercise patience because “the money is coming.”

The minister appealed to aggrieved enumerators not to disturb the data collection process, as government is preparing for those who did not receive pay because of mobile money issues.

Commenting further on protests in several counties, Tweah said LISGIS was trying to get 1700 individuals out of a total of 29,000 applicants, and that they were training people whose names were not among the 29,000 that were selected.

For his part, Nimba County District# 8 Representative, Larry Younquoi, said it is better to suspend the census and recalibrate the entire process.

He said doing so would enable the nation to be better informed to turn out for the conduct of the 2022 census. “But without this, people will see the current situation and decide not to be counted”, he said.

Representative Younquio made the call Tuesday via a letter that was read at the planetary of the House.

He however said he will show up to be counted if the government refused to listen to his call, but he could not sit and see something going wrong without talking about it.

But pundits disagreed with Representative Younquio’s call, noting that Article 39 of the Liberia Constitution gives the Legislature the right to set date for census, not LISGIS on its own.

Many citizens, including enumerators, have joined the Nimba lawmaker in his call to suspend or postpone the date for census.

A resident of Monrovia, Augustine Mulbah, said he supports the call for further postponement of the census because of the way things are going with continuous protests by enumerators, adding “If the country is not ready, it is not ready.” Editing

President George Weah has declared Friday, 11 November a public holiday to enable citizens stay at home and be enumerated.

It may be recalled that after the 2022 National Population and Housing Census was announced in October, a total of 20,000 persons applied online.

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