By Siraju Bah :
20th December, 2013. The National Commission for democracy NCD has commenced a three day retreat to assess the challenges of the Commission and to also deliberate on its activities and plan for the coming year at the Makambo Village Resort in Makeni. The event which has been introduced for the first time by the Commission assembled all staff members of the Commission from all the four regions in one place to have an in-depth and thorough look into the activities of NCD.
NCD Chairman flanked on the right by Commissioner South and on the immediate left by Commissioner North and on the extreme left by the Executive Secretary of the COmmission
The Chairman National Commission for Democracy Dr. Abubakar H. Kargbo stated that the retreat was meant to review the past and to provide a critical assessment of the Commission in order to design a strategic working plan to forge ahead with the implementation of its activities for the future.
He said staff of the Commission will do a thorough introspection to identify reasons for some of the things that they had done that did not go well, challenges the Commission is grappling with and also examine certain tendencies and trends that might militate against the progress of the commission.
He said the retreat will also focus on mapping out strategies for its future plan especially in sourcing fund for its projects noting that one of their major donor partners, UNIPSIL is wrapping up its activities in the country and government’s subvention is not enough to ensure an efficient, effective and sustainable Commission in terms of its activities.
He encouraged staff of the Commission to take the retreat seriously and ensure that the issues that will be discussed are examined adequately so that the retreat which is the first ever in the history of the Commission will bear the required result.
He said the Commission needs to improve on its performance in order to change its unpleasant past record whilst calling on members of staff to work assiduously to address the challenges of the Commission so that NCD will be seen as one of the most vibrant governance institutions performing functions that will benefit the people.
The Executive Secretary of the Commission Mr. Abubakar S. Yillah reiterated the importance of the retreat and encouraged staff members to have a frank discussion on the matters that will arise in the course of the proceedings.
In his presentation, the Commissioner Northern Region, Bai John Conteh noted that the annual retreat is a landmark event in the history of the Commission since it is the first time the Commission has held such an important event and was pleased to announce his pleasure of being the first host as he welcomed NCD staff to the Northern region.
He underscored the need for the retreat saying that there is the need for members of staff to be confined in an isolated venue away from the rancor of the town in order to concentrate and think seriously about the matters that will be discussed so that the Commission will realize its goals.
He said the success of every organization depends on its planning and the success of every programme depends on the time spent in planning for it, noting that the Commission has existed for close to 20 years but had never got the opportunity to have such an important event.
He said they want to begin to set a standard where such an event will be held at the end of every year to think and reflect on the past and to map out the way forward for the organization.
He said when senior members of the Commission from all the regions come together and work as a team to put ideas together about the planning of projects, it is a clear indication that the Commission is bent on succeeding.
He applauded the effort of UNIPSIL for according the Commission the opportunity to hold such a relevant event as he disclosed that the programme is almost entirely sponsored by UNIPSIL and urged colleagues to stay focused and deliberate well on the matters that will ensue.
Commissioner, Independent Media Commission and lecturer in the department of Extra Mural Studies, Fourah Bay College University of Sierra Leone, Mr. Augustine A. Garmoh, made a presentation on the topic “Art of Civic Education, Norms, Key Values and Practices” with a focus on civic education in a democratic setting.
On a powerpoint presentation, Mr. Garmoh noted that civic education in a democratic society needs to be concerned with promoting understanding of the ideals of democracy and a reasoned commitment to the values and principles of democracy, norms, key values and practices.
He said civic education must be realistic and must also be able to address the central truth about political life of the people and also the rights and responsibilities of citizens should be respected.