A high powered delegation from NCD, comprising the Chairman, the Four Regional Commissioners, the Executive Secretary and Five Managers, has on Wednesday, February 25, 2015 paid a courtesy call on the newly appointed Chief Electoral Commissioner of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) at his Tower Hill office in Freetown.
The delegation was received in audience by the newly appointed Chief Electoral Commissioner, Mr. N’fa Allie Conteh, the NEC Western Region Commissioner, Mrs. Miatta French, the Southern Region Commissioner, Mrs. Augusta Bockarie, the NEC Executive Secretary, Mr. William Addo Davies and two personnel from the Outreach and External Relations Unit of NEC.
The meeting which ensued was held in the Conference Room of NEC with pertinent issues, ranging from congratulating the newly appointed Elections Chief to talking about signing an MOU, constituted major highlights of the deliberations.
In his welcome statement, the newly appointed Elections Chief, Mr. N’fa Allie Conteh, noted that a change of leadership is not synonymous with a change of mandate acknowledging that his institution has to work in concert with other governance institutions like NCD in the interest of democracy in Sierra Leone.
He further intimated his audience about the recent activities of his Commission to include the completion of the annual report and a clear focus on the new strategic plan. He also emphasized the need to collaborate with sister institutions and civil society.
He then broached the subject of the postponement of the census that has far-reaching implications for the delimitation of ward and constituency boundaries that is a pre-requisite for the conduct of free and fair elections in the Country. “On this very important issue, there is need to meet with NCD to look for the way forward”, he noted.
He also stated that the last time constituencies and wards were delimited was in 2006 and 2007, respectively. He urged that going by that the next set of elections are to be conducted on the basis of newly delimited boundaries of both wards and constituencies with such a process to be hindered by the current postponement of the census.
The Chairman of NCD, Dr. Abubakar H. Kargbo, wasted no time in extending fraternal greetings and congratulations to the newly appointed Elections Chief. He went on to describe governance as a system that should ensure that state institutions team up to move forward the governance process. In summing up the motive of the visit, Dr. Kargbo emphasized the need to sign an MOU with NEC to further consolidate and enhance the operations of both institutions as democratic good governance is promoted in the length and breadth of the Country.
On the issue of the postponement of the census, Dr. Kargbo was of the view that something concrete can be done to ensure that the issues are amicably resolved by way of involving every stakeholder in order not to stall the democratic processes that are duly connected to the census results. He mentioned the pivotal role of Statistics Sierra Leone in resolving the impasse. He then pledged the solid support of NCD in promoting the mandate of NEC and encouraged periodic meetings to further cement the bond between the two institutions.
All the Regional Commissioners of NCD joined the NCD Chairman in congratulating the newly appointed Elections Chiefs for the new office with a strong desire to see him succeed expressed. The NCD Commissioner Eastern Region, Alhaji Sheku Kamara, lauded the collaborative work between the two institutions in the Eastern Region as it relates to the operations of the Institute for Electoral Administration and Civic Education (INEACE). The INEACE partnership was also commended by the NCD Southern Region and Western Region Commissioners, Mr. Jonathan Menjor and Mrs. Georgette L. O. de Marke with the latter introducing Mr. Idris Din-Gabisi, NCD Research and Project Coordinator, as standing in her stead for future INEACE engagement even as room is made for succession planning on the basis of old age. She also requested on behalf of NCD to be considered for the Electoral Basket Fund in the provision of civic education to the people of Sierra Leone. The NCD Northern Region Commissioner, Mr. Bai John Conteh, emphasized the need for a good governance unit to be formed to think through the various good governance processes with the need for the governance institutions to have a meeting point to deliberate on related issues.
The high point of the visit was a photo opportunity of all present starting with the Commissioners of both Commissions as initiated by the NEC Chief of Outreach and External Relations, Mr. Albert Massaquoi ably supported by Assistant Electoral Officer, Mr. Emmanuel Lavalie.