5th Multi-Stakeholders Election Steering Committee Meeting Held

PR system

By Foday Moriba Conteh

At the New Brookfields Hotel on New England Ville in Freetown, Stakeholders have on Wednesday 18th January, 2022 concluded the 5th Multi-Stakeholders Election Steering Committee Meeting. The meeting brought together Election Management Bodies and Development Partners in order to discuss critical issues around election management in the country.

Development Partners present at the ceremony included the EU Ambassador, US Ambassador, and the British High Commissioner etc.

In his electoral update, the Chief Electoral Commissioner of Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone, Mohamed Konneh, said that the Commission has successfully concluded the updating of the Voters Registration Exercise in line with the legal framework capturing a total of 3,374,258 voters, adding that cconfirmation and verification of details of voters continue through the use of web portal at https://voterdetails.ec.gov.sl and by downloading the ECSL android mobileapponGooglePlayStore:https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id-com.app.ecsl as well as SMS by dialling *838# on any Africell line.

He revealed that the procurement process for the offshore printing of Voter Registration Cards is ongoing and that the distribution of voter ID cards is slated for the 17th-26th March, 2023, stating that stakeholder engagements across regional and district levels are planned as part of sensitization exercise on PR system. The production of jingles and other IC (Information, Education and Communication) materials are also being prepared.

He pointed out that the Commission has approved the existing policy of assigning polling stations which remains as a standard of 300 voters per station with the last stations not having more than 400 voters and that the Commission, in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government has deferred the Village Head elections to October 2023.

The scheduled date of February 11 was predicated for the distribution of voter ID cards. Since this cannot be achieved in time, the Commission is obliged to defer the Village Head election.
With support from International IDEA, an Electoral Risk Management Hub has been set up with three technical staff recruited. Through stakeholder engagement, electoral risks (27 internal & 12 external) have also been identified.

He informed the gathering that EU provided funding for printing of Public Elections Act and training materials for the Voter Registration exercise and that UNDP has procured services for the provision and installation of solar panels and batteries as power backup to the server rooms at Headquarters and Wellington, continuing that the UNDP has procured and delivered to ECSL, eighteen (18) units each of generators and printers as support to the operations of the district offices.

Commenting on Electoral Inclusion he maintained that with support from EU and UNDP, Gender and Disability Stakeholder Coordinating Groups have been formed and launched at district and regional levels nationwide with support been given to conduct several trainings for various minority and disadvantaged groups to facilitate increased awareness and participation in the electoral process.

Giving an update on electoral financing, the Minister of Finance said that they are structured in the context of the Elections Steering Committee, and he will serve as the co-chair  of the Finance Sub-committee with the UNDP Resident Representative.

He said that he will endeavour to hold monthly meetings of the Finance sub-Committee starting February 2023 as they put plans and strategies in place to support the financing of the conduct of the 2023 General Elections to be held in June.

The Minister provided an update on elections related disbursements made by Government through the Ministry of Finance in FY2022 and also provided a synopsis of the planned disbursements for FY2023.

In his update, he informed all that the approved elections related budget for Electoral Commission Sierra Leone (ECSL) for FY 2022 was Le 300 million with an actual transfer to ECSL as at 31st December 2022 through the Elections Basket fund amounted to L 358 million, which was Le58 million above the approved budget.

He maintained that for FY2023, the approved budget by Parliament as allocation to ECSL and other Elections Management Bodies (EMBs) for the conduct of the General Elections in June 2023 is Le 423.7 million, of which the total allocation to ECSL is Le 349 million and based on the cashflow forecast for the first half of FY2023 that has been developed by the Ministry of Finance, they plan to disburse in full all funds budgeted for elections related activities to ECSL and other EMBs by the end of April 2023.

The Chairman of  the Political Parties Registration Commission, Abdulai M. Bangura, said that PPRC received the reviewed party constitution of the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP) and the Commission has also engaged political parties to ensure compliance with their party’s constitution and the review of the same if need be.

He maintained that of the seventeen registered political parties; only four (4) have held their National Delegates Conference (SLPP, UNPP, UDM & NGC, which is yet to elect its flagbearer).

He pointed out that the Commission awaits the commencement of Lower-Level Election by the remaining political parties even though few have commenced but have yet to hold a National Delegate Conference and that the proposed regulatory framework of the Commission titled “Political Parties Regulatory Commission Act, 2022” is now in force following the Presidential Assent it received in December 2022.

The meeting was chaired by the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Jacob Jusu Saffa and its Co-Chairman, the  UN Resident Coordinator, United Nations.



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