By Gladys Kole
The national democratic movement (NDM) political party is demanding the national bureau of statistics to call all the stakeholders to explain to them the scientific basis of the making of the population estimate 2021.
“If indeed they are the source of the document, when was the process started and who took part in it, and whether the estimates included the millions of our refugees outside the country such information will determine our position on this population” NDM statement partly read.
Last week a document titled “Population estimate survey 2021- payam estimates” has been making rounds in the mass media following the release of the document, South Sudan’s population has peaked at 12.4 million.
But NDM party under Dr. Lam Akol Ajawin doubted that the report saying although the document carries the logo of the national bureau of statistics, it was unsigned and the national democratic movement spokesperson Mahmoud A. Akot on Friday released a statement questioning the authenticity of the document that has made rounds on the media.
“We would like the national bureau of statistics to make itself clear on this matter.” Did they issue the document? If so what was the basis of carrying out the estimates? He queried.
The statement from the national democratic movement party reiterated that, such a serious matter must be brought to light so that the people know the facts about such vital issues.
Conducting a population census is stipulated for in the revitalized agreement on the resolution of the conflict in the republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS) as one of the pre-requisites for holding free fair and credible elections at the end of the transitional period.
“Census by itself must be transparent and all steps leading to the final product should be sanctioned by all the stakeholders in the country” Akol stressed in his statement.
However, one thing for certain is that on Thursday 6 April 2023, the national bureau of statistics (NBS) together with government agencies and development parties launched presentation of South Sudan 2021 Population Estimation Survey report carried out to determine the tentative population of the country.
The recent report on South Sudan population estimation survey, the total statistics of people across the Country was estimated to be 12,444,017.
According to Isaiah Chol Aruai, the chairperson of National Bureau of Statistics, the estimated population is far greater than the previous 2008 figure which was 8.26 million where 4.29 million were male and 3.97 female respectively.
Isaiah underscored that the recent estimated population was conducted to help the government execute policies that will aid them in budgeting and other things noting that it was not meant for election purposes.
He said that the recent estimated population figures were generated based on satellite imagery and enumeration aimed at providing accurate estimates and other demographic and socio-economic characteristics of inhabitants.
“This figure cannot be used for elections. They can only be used for policy formulation and planning for service delivery. They can’t be used for elections because the figures that emanated from the survey may not be suitable for conducting elections,” he stated.
NBS boss slammed government for using political threats to hang what is crucial for the nation adding it is dangerous to keep halting provisions that will transform the nation into a better place.
“We don’t have choice. Census is a political decision and it is not us (NBS) to decide either to have Census or not, it is the political leadership to tell us what to do,” he said.
He concluded that South Sudan elections will not be genuine if it is going to be conducted with approximate statistics that is not accurate based on the facts needed.
Meanwhile, Abednego Akok the chairperson of national election commission (NEC) remarked at the same event that South Sudan will use 2008 Sudan population and housing census figures to conduct the upcoming elections at the end of the transition period.
He instead urged peace parties within the unity government to gear up the implementation of the peace roadmap extending the transition noting that they will be accountable in case of any failures.
“One of the ways to conduct elections is to use the 2008 Census which was done during Sudan time because resources currently are not available. If the revitalized peace agreement is implemented in time, there may be chance to conduct elections,” he noted.