April 8, 2016 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Two leading governance institutions in the country, National Electoral Commission (NEC) and National Commission for Democracy (NCD), have finally agreed to form a partnership to enable them to jointly carry out national programmes on civic and electoral education.
During a meeting held at the NCD head office in Freetown, NEC Chairperson Mohamed N’fa Alie Conteh stated that when the Memorandum of Understanding would have been officially signed, it would paved the way for the two institutions to work closely in the discharge of their duties, as well as ensuring a holistic collaboration at management and technical levels.
He said the two institutions are pivotal to good governance in the country because NEC is charged with the constitutional mandate of conducting free, fair and regular elections, whereas the NCD is concerned with educating citizens on their civic rights and responsibilities.
“I am pretty sure that our collaboration has been very effective over the years and it is now time for us to have an MOU that will clearly show the different roles and responsibilities,” he said.
He noted that the NCD had been very supportive in making sure that people are educated on what is expected of them in any electoral process, including during bye-elections that were conducted in 2015, when the commission embarked on effective civic and voter education activities.
“The two institutions have collaborated on two key programmes worthwhile for credible and transparent elections namely, the Institute of Electoral Administration and Civic Education (INEACE) and the Boundary Delimitation Committee (BDC). Your Commissioner has been doing extremely well in that committee in ensuring that everything is working as prescribed,” he said.
Mr. Conteh informed senior officials of the NCD that his commission would shortly embark on the boundary delimitation exercise, which requires public education at national level, adding that NCD is the specialised governance institution that would undertake such an activity effectively.
On his part, NCD Chairman Dr. Abubakar H. Kargbo expressed happiness for the collaboration and affirmed that it would bear the most desirable fruit. He assured the NEC chairperson and his team that NCD was always ready to work with them to ensure free, fair and credible elections are conducted at all times.
“The NCD is the mender of souls because we are changing the behavior patterns of residents in Sierra Leone and the citizens to prepare them for all forms of elections. Our willingness to partner with your commission was manifested in the previous bye-elections though we were faced with many challenges,” he said.