April 4, 2017
The Standing Together for Democracy Consortium , a coalition of five local organisations, has expressed grave disappointed with the delay by the Attorney General‘s Office to submit to Parliament the Boundary Delimitation (BD) report after receiving the document from National Electoral Commission in good time.
The consortium also urged parliament to engage the AG’s office to remedy the situation regarding the BD report as matter of urgency.
They observed that Parliament might have legitimate concerns over the constitutional compliance of the BD process; but nevertheless, they recognized NEC’s clarification of timely submission of the BD report to the AG’s Office, whose responsibility was to lay it before parliament for approval.
The Sierra Leone Parliament yesterday summoned NEC to provide clarification on the legality of conducting voter registration prior to Parliamentary approval of the BD report.
The group appreciated the Parliamentary forum on Elections with various stakeholders including NEC, the Office of the Attorney General (AG) and other Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) that led to the clarification of the contentious electoral issue on constitutional compliance on the BD process in the Parliamentary Committee Room one.
According to the release, the consortium noted with satisfaction the comment from the Deputy Speaker of Sierra Leone Parliament that they were law abiding and were committed to the electoral timeline, thus stating that they underscored the said commitment and urged parliament to remain true to their commitment.
The group noted with concern and dismay the enactment into law, without Parliamentary debate, the Provinces Act of 2017, noting it ramifications on the NEC concluded BD process.
They however encouraged MPs that in their bid to ensure compliance, should refrain from any decision that would disrupt the established electoral calendar.
“The turnout of the public at the forum in committee room one shows the extent of public concern to uphold the elections timeline and protect the country’s fledgling democracy,” the release stated.
They also urged NEC to be more proactive in communicating its activities and processes to enhance public confidence as that will ascertain their independence in the electoral process.
The group called on the Government of Sierra Leone and donor partners to provide NEC with the required support especially financial resources to deliver on its mandate.
The Standing Together for Democracy Consortium NEW), Institute for Governance Reform (IGR), and Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), Independent Radio Network, 50/50 Group), and two international organisations (Search for Common Ground (SFCG) and Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD)).