Reverend Gibrilla Kargbo: The Chairman and some staff of the National Commission for Democracy have paid a courtesy call on the new Chief of Staff at State House on Wednesday, October 29, 2014. In what can best be described as a positive outcome, the deliberations that ensued have succeeded in cementing the bond between NCD and the Office of the Chief of Staff at State House.
In his courtesy statement, the Chairman of NCD, Dr. Abubakar H. Kargbo, extended fraternal greetings to the new Chief of Staff and congratulated him on his new appointment into the office that he described as one of the highest in the land. As part of his presentation, the NCD Chairman raised a few concerns in terms of challenges faced by the Commission in carrying out its constitutional mandate. Among other things, he mentioned the lack of inclusion of the Commission in the operations of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an international democratic consortium that brings together democratic outfits from different nations. He emphasized the irony in the situation in the exclusion of NCD from such an arrangement as the key statutory body that is mandated to work in the democratic domain and provide the nation with focus in its democratic expansion.
Additionally, the Chairman noted the late payment of subvention meant for the effective and efficient running of the Commission not just in the Western region, but also in other regions of the Country. In prescribing the way forward, the Chairman made a passionate appeal for capacity building in ensuring that the Commission is up to speed in its operations nationwide. Furthermore, he pledged the unflinching support of the Commission to the work of the Office of the Chief of Staff by making available its expertise in providing the much needed civic education to the people in the length and breadth of the Country even as the Commission makes frantic efforts in cascading its operations from the regions to the districts. In concluding his statement, the Chairman requested for an appointment with H. E. the President to submit the annual report of the Commission through the Office of the Chief of Staff.
In his response to the visiting team, the new Chief of Staff, Mr. Saidu Conton Sesay, expressed appreciation for the visit as the Commission was not part of the MDAs he visited when he took up office as the new Chief of Staff at State House. A major focus of his response was the strong promise made to collaborate with NCD in the area of information dissemination in providing strategic focus in the operations of the Office of the Chief of Staff. Regarding the concerns raised, the new Chief of Staff indicated the need for immediate follow-up to help ameliorate the negative impact of the current challenges of the Commission. Also, the new Chief of Staff expressed deep appreciation for the work being done by the Commission in the area of reviewing its mandate to bring the Commission up to speed with current realities in the promotion of democratic good governance.
In an earlier statement, the NCD Commissioner responsible for Performance Contract, Mr. Bai John Conteh, also congratulated the new Chief of Staff for the appointment. He then noted the perspective of NCD as a non-state actor that should be apolitical in its operations as it carries out its constitutional mandate. Frankly speaking, he also indicated that NCD has not been given the attention it deserves regardless of its pivotal role and the enormity of its operations. On the basis of insufficient budgetary allocation, Mr. Conteh appealed for support from government to undertake the activities outlined in its Performance Contract signed with State House noting that the only time the Commission received more than a billion in budgetary allocation was during the 2012 elections, a situation that does not augur well for the effective and efficient performance of the Commission. He then intimated the Chief of Staff about the Management and Functional Review of the National Commission for Democracy that was done by the Public Sector Reform Unit of State House as the basis for the enormous task of the Commission, a context that has informed the current review of the Commission’s mandate. In this regard, he noted that despite the strong import of the review very little has been done to reflect the magnitude of the Commission’s work in budgetary allocation.
During her contribution to the discourse, NCD Commissioner Western region, Mrs. Georgette L. O. de’ Marke, informed the Chief of Staff about the draft Service Delivery Charter that was sent some months back to the Office of the Chief of Staff for necessary action in ensuring the Commission fulfils one of its Performance Contract activities. The visit then culminated in the delivery of a vote of thanks that was done by Mrs. Georgette L. O. de’ Marke.