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NEC presents 2009 Annual Report to President Koroma

NEC presents 2009 Annual Report to President Koroma

Commissioner of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Dr Christiana Thorpe, has presented the Commission’s 2009 Annual Report to President Ernest Bai Koroma at State House, for onward transmission to Parliament and the people of Sierra Leone.

Presenting the report, Dr Thorpe apologized for its month’s lateness, which she said was due to the chieftaincy elections. She was grateful for the support received from government, especially from the Ministries of Finance and Local Government in 2009. On the whole, she said the Commission’s strategic plan was ninety percent achieved and that the high point of the year was the acquisition of a building to house the Institute of Electoral Administration and Civic Education in Wellington, Freetown. She reported that about 400 candidates graduated last week, and that the NCTV has accredited the Institution.

On recommendations, Dr Thorpe listed four sets, with reference to government, stakeholders, political parties and development partners.

With regards to government, she asked for continued financial and moral support, adequate and timely provision of funds and materials for electoral operations, the facilitation of the completion of the NEC office at Tower Hill and the acquisition of four remaining offices in Bombali, Kono, Bonthe and Bo. She also called for a review of the 2009 Chieftaincy Act in view of the challenges experienced in its implementation during the Paramount Chief elections; and finally that government should enhance the capacity of the Government Printing Department.

For Stakeholders and National Institutions, NEC looks for continued collaboration from religious and Civil Society Groups and encourages them to participate fully. Support is also needed from the Law Reform Commission to reform, update and consolidate the electoral laws in preparation for the 2012 elections.

She said the PPRC should collaborate with NEC and assist political parties to develop the democratic principles in the selections of their candidates for nomination and train them in electoral procedures for 2012. She paid tribute to the National Elections Watch, urging them to be objective in their reporting.

With regards the Office of the National Security, Dr. Thorpe asked that they initiate pro- active measures in collaboration with the Sierra Leone Police to neutralize violence exhibited by political parties and their supporters; that the parties should exercise mutual political tolerance at all times and respect the democratic and human rights of the electorate.

To development partners, Dr Thorpe asked for their support to NEC in the establishment of four regional tally centers for the 2012 elections, as tallying will be done regionally. NEC, she said, is also looking for support for the introduction of a bio-metric system for permanent voter’s registration for Presidential, parliamentary and Local government elections.

Responding, President Koroma thanked the Commissioner and members of the Commission for what he described as their “continued professionalism in manning the affairs of the Commission.” Government, he said, is indeed very proud of NEC in that their efforts have earned the country a lot of respectability with reference to the credible manner they have handled elections and run the Commission. The President urged them to continue to maintain the standards they have already set for themselves.

With regards the recommendations, President Koroma promised that they will be carefully looked into and that some of them will be addressed during the course of the year, as they are all geared towards enhancing the Commission’s work.

President Koroma called on them to continue to maintain and protect their credibility, even as the international community now considers Sierra Leone as a leading regional democracy, while he assured them of government’s support at all times to enable them carry on their work.

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