Two leading governance institutions in the country, the National Commission for Democracy (NCD) and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) have on Friday, 20th May, 2016 signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the conference room of the National Electoral Commission at Towel Hill in Freetown.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Political and Public Affairs, Honorable Nannette Thomas, said that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding was an important milestone in building democratic good governance in the country noting that the MOU would help NCD and NEC to effectively and collaboratively achieve their mandates as prescribed by the Acts that created them. She said the two institutions are creatures of Acts of Parliament and that the MOU recognizes the critical roles these commissions are playing before, during and after elections. The Minster described the signing as timely and strongly believed that it would help in enhancing credence in the forthcoming Presidential and Parliamentary Elections. As the Political and Public Affairs Minister, she promised to closely work with the two governance institutions in ensuring that they get the needed support to implement the content of the MOU.

In his statement, the Chairman of the National Commission for Democracy, Dr. Abubakar H. Kargbo, told the august gathering that the signing of the MOU was not based on a marriage of convenience, but a marriage of compatibility as the mandates and operations of the two governance institutions are mutually reinforcing. He revealed that the MOU would help them twin their resources and enrich the electoral process and strengthen the very pillars of the country’s democracy noting that democratic good governance in the country is faced with many challenges but with determination, hard work and purposeful collaboration, there is hope that the country’s democracy would soon reach it desired height. He revealed that the willingness on the part of NEC to accommodate and effect the signing of an MOU was laudable and worth commending.

Dr. Kargbo stressed that a key concept of democratic good governance is the conduct of periodic free, fair and transparent elections, a process that usually gives entrance legitimacy to our elected leaders and noted that NEC is responsible to regulate that and for it activities to be effective, there must be willingness on the part of the electorate to participate in a manner that the process could be described as credible. Also, he observed that for an electoral process to be effective as prescribed by best practice there must be willingness on the part of the people to positively participate through raising civic consciousness on the general citizenry with NCD charged with that responsibility. He revealed that his commission is working in a society that is predominantly primordial and thus making the work of his commission more challenging even against the atmosphere of diversity and seeming political apathy on the part of the people. Dr. Kargbo affirmed that the work would be easier and leading to an effective and successful electoral process when human and other resources of likeminded institutions are twined for the betterment of all.

He maintained that no one institution could achieve its goals without alliance and the forming of partnership in achieving institutional goals couldn’t only shorten the time of achieving it, but could also be more effective. He assured those present including members of the forth estate that the import of the articles in the MOU would soon be felt by the general public through the dissemination of key messages that would fully help them to understand the very essence of the electoral process to ensure a change of mindset.

In her capacity as Acting Chief of the National Electoral Commission, the Southern Region Commissioner, Augusta Bockarie, revealed that NCD and NEC had good historical working relationship that had not only been developed over the years but had placed credence in the activities and operations of the two institutions. She disclosed that the signing of the MOU would not only cement the existing relationship between the governance institutions but would also create effective collaboration in the areas of civic and electoral education. Commissioner Bockarie maintained that NCD has the constitutional mandate to educate the citizens of this country on their rights to vote and why they should vote and also educate them on the significance of political tolerance in the electoral process while NEC is constitutionally charged with the responsibility of conducting all public elections and referenda. She stressed that NEC would only conduct effective and credible elections if the people were properly sensitized on the importance of their roles in the electoral process noting that the two institutions are joined at the hip when it comes to executing and achieving their goals.

In his comments, Commissioner Macksood Gibril Sesay of NEC said that NCD and NEC have what he described as natural co-existence and none can effectively operate without the full support of the other noting that the signing is just formalizing what is natural. NCD Eastern Region Commissioner, Alhaji Sheku Kamara, reaffirmed that the two governance institutions have been partnering on areas of electoral education and currently on the boundary delimitation of which his Commission holds the national chair and vice chair for the Eastern region.

In her closing courtesy, NCD Western Area Commissioner, Georgette de Marke, said that NEC and NDC had taken matrimonial vows and she believed the vows would enable the two governance institutions to teach the people not only how to vote, but also prepare their minds for the electoral process including political tolerance, electoral honesty etc. She assured all that the MOU would build peace, development and cohesion not only for the two institutions but also at the national level.

Chairman's photo
The Chairman
Dr. Abubakar Kargbo

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