April 3, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawalliea
A coalition of civil society organisations has called on lawmakers to take proactive steps and ratify, without further delay, the Boundary Delimitation report before them.
On Thursday March 30, 2017, members of parliament commenced deliberation on a controversial statutory instrument on electoral boundaries that had been tabled by the Deputy Minister of Justice, Arrow Bockarie.
In a press statement dated Friday, March 31, 2017, the Standing Together for Democracy Consortium stated that the outcome of the Boundary Delimitation (BD) Report, which was being debated, would have serious ramifications on the on-going voter registration process and the electoral process as a whole.
According to them, the motion for debate by lawmakers presupposes that serious error was made by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) in its rollout of electoral activities, saying that the ratification of the delineated boundaries should precede any implementation of elections-related activities, including the on-going civic and voter registration exercise.
The consortium, comprising the National Elections Watch (NEW), Institute for Governance Reform (IGR), Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) and Independent Radio Network, among others, claimed that the BD report has been presented to the Attorney General’s office since 16th November, 2016, but failed to lay it before parliament and that NEC’s engagement with the Office of the Attorney General has started since October, 2016.
They said they have repeatedly called on stakeholders that all other activities that have the tendency of distracting and derailing the electoral process, such as the referendum, de-amalgamation and re-districting be deferred after the 2018 electoral cycle.
“We wish to encourage the Government of Sierra Leone to show a lot more commitment to the electoral process by giving timely and adequate support to NEC to roll out activities in line with the Electoral calendar. Furthermore, we want to urge all parliamentarians to prioritise and support the national interest over personal and political interests, by ratifying, without delay the BD report currently tabled in parliament, together with supporting the electioneering processes in its entirety,” the release stated.
The consortium warned that any attempt to derail the current electoral process would not be tolerated, while calling on all Sierra Leoneans to guard the country’s young and fledgling democracy by participating and contributing positively to the various phases of the electoral Cycle.