Your Excellency Sir, permit me to extend to you fraternal greetings and best wishes for the New Year from the Management and Staff of the National Commission for Democracy (NCD). Today marks another milestone in the history of NCD. We are here to submit our annual report pursuant to NCD’s statutory mandate stipulated in the Act of Parliament No 3 of 1996 and the Performance Contract signed with your Excellency which called on the Commission to report on programmes and activities implemented in fulfillment of its obligations, copy of which shall be laid or caused to be laid before Parliament by the President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. The report we are presenting covers the period 1stJanuary to 31st December, 2015.
Your Excellency, 2015 was a year that posed not only challenges, but provided a window of opportunity to the Country and its people in our noble effort to promoting democratic good governance nationwide. The year also witnessed the height of the Ebola Pandemic that brought untold suffering to the nation. However, it gave credence to an important tenet of Democratic Good Governance, that of massive participation on the part of the people in the Governance of the nation of Sierra Leone.
The fact remains that the Ebola menace would have done more havoc if there was no effective mobilization of the people of Sierra Leone. With the astute leadership of Your Excellency, the whole nation was mobilized to combat the Ebola pandemic. The lesson of 2015, even in terms of promoting democratic good governance, is that leadership particularly when it is visionary remains key and that the people constitute the core in ensuring an efficient, effective and sustainable democratic good governance environment in Sierra Leone.
Your Excellency, during the year under review, NCD was innovative in implementing activities related to Pillar Seven (7) of the Agenda for Prosperity, its priority plan for the Performance Contract, and re-conceptualized its conventional civic activities to Post-Ebola Recovery initiative of Your Excellency. With the growing optimism and substantial political will being translated into progress in the Post-Ebola Recovery Action Plan nationwide, NCD was not complacent with such progress but to continue educating citizens about their civic rights and responsibilities alongside awareness raising campaigns on health related matters.
Your Excellency, the Commission is conscious of the multiple financial responsibilities of the Government amidst multiple priority goals to be realized at the same time, as the country recovers from the fight against the Ebola Virus Disease. Despite challenges posed by the Ebola pandemic, the National Commission for Democracy (NCD) was very proactive in its sensitization drive to educate the people of Sierra Leone. There were instances wherein the presence of the NCD green, white and blue Public Education Broadcast Van was not welcomed by the people in some of the provincial areas, who perceived its presence as responsible in spreading the Ebola virus. This was a demonstration of how seriously the people needed education even against the backdrop of lack of information as to what the Ebola virus was all about, as was the initial case during the outbreak of the Ebola virus in the country.
Your Excellency, the year under review also witnessed the active participation of NCD in the Constitutional Review Process, which took the Commission to several parts of the country educating the people about the importance of taking part in the Constitutional Review Process.
Your Excellency, it is against this backdrop, characterized by the Herculean task ahead that NCD is appealing to government to always ensure that adequate resources be made available to the Commission to become more efficient, effective and sustainable. This will contribute to promoting sustainable democratic consolidation since it will ensure that governance institutions perform the functions they were created for and not becoming lame ducks.
The need to promote democratic consolidation in Sierra Leone cannot be overemphasized. It entails we behave in accordance with modern democratic principles and best practice. In this regard Your Excellency, you would agree that civic education remains crucial especially for the fact that the population of Sierra Leone to a very large extent is largely primordial and not rooted from a democratic good governance background as we know it today. The nation is badly in need of a national civic education campaign to ensure that the over seven million populace has a good understanding of the governance process anchored on civic responsibility, nationalism and patriotism. There will be the need to capacitate the Commission even in terms of Public Education Broadcast Vans at least one for every region. Such capacity building will no doubt complement the current preparedness of the Commission for both the Referendum and the forthcoming 2018 elections. As usual, the Commission will like to contribute its own quota in promoting credible, peaceful, transparent, violent-free Referendum, Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council elections, respectively.
Your Excellency, the Commission is making this request for further capacity building in order to ensure its effectiveness, efficiency and make a significant impact on the body politic of the nation with due consideration given to the provision of adequate and timely remittance of its yearly allocation.
The Commission is, however, optimistic that with the timely provision of adequate resources, its civic education drive will reach the entire nation even at the chiefdom level. NCD is, therefore, calling for support from the government, the donor community, the people and all friends of Sierra Leone interested in the country’s progress and well-being. We must learn through experience and live with the practical reality in our effort to promoting democratic good governance. It is, therefore, a given that a well-informed public will contribute positively to the ideals of democratic good governance.
Your Excellency, in addition to the report my Commission is presenting today, there are two additional packages for your attention and consumption to include the second edition of the NCD Good Governance Magazine and “the Way to Happiness”, a common sense guide to better living with implications for increased civic consciousness in being good citizens of Sierra Leone and the World. With the latter, NCD looks forward to popularizing its content in the length and breadth of the nation and given the availability of support and necessary resources, NCD is poised to raise the standard of Civic Education to another level.
Your Excellency, permit me at this juncture to draw your attention to the urgent need for the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) to be duly constituted as in the absence of its Chairman, there are so many things they cannot readily accomplish as a national institution set up by an act of Parliament. The significance of this appeal is contingent on the realization that with the ongoing political impasse in the leading opposition party in the Country, PPRC can be very pivotal in the successful and amicable resolution of the issues, a move that is very vital given its implications for the consolidation of democracy in our beloved motherland.
Your Excellency, as a Commission tasked with the responsibility of promoting democratic good governance in our beloved motherland, we can’t help but notice that several institutions lately have been asking the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to stipulate the specific date for the next General Elections. In this regard and by virtue of your pivotal role in the governance of our beloved motherland, NCD is requesting that you use your good offices to expedite the process. Your Excellency, at this critical juncture, it is my honor and privilege to present the NCD report for 2015, the second edition of the NCD Good Governance Magazine and “the Way to Happiness” for your attention and perusal with consideration given to the due process especially in relation to the annual report as per the statutory mandate.
Thanks for your attention!
Long live the consolidation of democratic good governance in Sierra Leone!
Long live the nation of Sierra Leone!