Following the death of Hon. Thomas Mark Turay with the resultant vacancy of his Parliamentary seat, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) has announced Saturday, December 12, 2015 as the date for bye-election to be held in Constituency 030 in the Bombali District in Northern Sierra Leone to choose a suitable replacement.
NCD WITH PRESIDENT KOROMA RECENTLY
On the backdrop of voter apathy and void voting that characterized the last bye-elections of Saturday, November 14, 2015; the National Commission for Democracy (NCD) has embarked on a twelve (12) day civic and voter education campaign to enhance the successful outcome of the Constituency 030 bye-election. With the Constituency spanning the whole of Paki Masabong Chiefdom and part of Bombali Sebora Chiefdom, the civic and voter education campaign is expected to end on Friday, December 11, 2015 with Monday, November 30, 2015 as the commencement date.
This important campaign meant to be a game changer in the conduct and outcome of the bye-election is spearheaded by the NCD Northern Region Commissioner, Bai John Conteh, with support from the NCD staff of the Northern Region.
During a telephone conversation, the NCD Northern Region Commissioner, Bai J. Conteh, sounded very optimistic about the potential inherent in the campaign that the Northern Region office of NCD has embarked on.
The Commissioner reported that prior to the commencement of the Civic and Voter education campaign in his region, letters were written to village heads to intimate them about the visit of the team from NCD that would be moving around with salient messages by way of educating the people of Constituency 030 on civic issues and how to vote.
Commenting on feedback from the field, the Commissioner noted that the Temne version of the jingle that was produced to educate the public on elections is widely acclaimed and appreciated by the people in the communities visited so far.
According to the Commissioner, the people have intimated NCD that they were not fully informed about the upcoming bye-election and that the intervention of NCD was a welcome idea with the potential of positively influencing the outcome of the Constituency 030 bye-election.
Talking about the difficulties experienced by the civic and voter education team comprising the driver from headquarters, Ibrahim Bah, the Public Education Officer of the Northern Region, Ezekiel M. S. Fornah and the Programmes Officer of the Northern Region, Johannes A. B. Kamara, the Commissioner indicated that some of the places on the schedule have rivers that require crossing over to the other sideand as such reaching those people could be somewhat challenging, but on the whole the team has been doing well.
In a related engagement, the NCD Northern Region Commissioner, Bai John Conteh, has granted an interview to Radio Hamza on FM 99.6, a community radio station in the City of Makeni in the Bombali District. Additionally, the Commissioner is expected to feature on Radio Mankneh on FM 95.1 and SLBC Makeni on FM 88.0 to throw light on the involvement of NCD in enhancing the successful outcome of the Constituency 030 bye-elections.
Also on the phone with the NCD Northern Region Public Education Officer, Ezekiel M. S. Fornah, he noted that NCD was the first governance institution to have undertaken such a civic and voter education campaign with the key aim of encouraging people to vote come Saturday, December 12, 2015 as the people of Constituency 030 go to the polls to elect a replacement for their late Hon. Member of Parliament, Dr. Thomas Mark Turay.
Ezekiel M. S. Fornah has noted with dismay that until the NCD intervention, the people of the constituency were mostly in darkness as they hardly know anything about the candidates contesting the forthcoming.
The NCD Northern Region Public Education Officer has remarked that the intervention of NCD has also helped in clarifying issues pertaining to the loss of voter cards, the location of voting centers and related issues with assurance that with increased awareness on the part of voters, voter apathy and void voting are going to be drastically minimized as the democratic process is enhanced.