By Amin Kef Sesay
On 28 January 2020 the Acting Chief Electoral Commissioner and Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Mr Edmond Sylvester Alpha and his senior management team paid a courtesy call on Stats SL at Tower Hill, Freetown.
Executive Secretary of NEC, Mr Williams Davies, indicated that the main reason for the engagement was to reaffirm Stats SL’s critical partnership to NEC and to encourage a continuation of the existing collaboration between the two institutions. He intimated that NEC is in transition as the substantive Chief Electoral Commissioner, Mr Mohamed Nfa Alie Conteh is on terminal/end of tenure leave as his tenure ends on the 11th of February 2020. He was then pleased to introduce Mr Edmond Alpha who was appointed to act as Chief Electoral Officer and Chairman by His Excellency the President, Dr. Julius Maada Bio.
In his statement, acting NEC Chief Electoral Commissioner, Edmond Alpha reiterated that NEC’s collaboration with Stats SL dates back to 2005 and is still on. The Commission recognizes the role Stats SL has played over the years in rendering technical expertise, assistance and capacity building to NEC. He gave an example of Stats SL supporting NEC in the boundary delimitation exercise. With NEC’s last electoral cycle which ended in 2019, a new one might require boundary delimitation again, hence need for renewed collaboration. There are also plans to strengthen the Geographic Information System (GIS) Lab.
Responding, the Statistician General and CEO of Stats SL Prof Osman Sankoh (Mallam O) welcomed the visiting NEC team and congratulated Mr Alpha on his recognition by the President. He wished him success during his tenure.
The SG then stressed that his institution has a strong team that can deliver support to NEC. He seized the opportunity to thank NEC for their own support to Stats SL especially in loaning vehicles to them when necessary.
The DSG Andrew Johnny said that he was particularly delighted for the meeting and alluded that Stats SL would be ready to help in capacity building of NEC as it had been doing over the years. He mentioned that the working relationship has to be cordial. The DSG cited an example when NEC recently contacted Stats SL concerning a boundary conflict and Stats SL was able to provide the technical expertise required.
The Director of Censuses and GIS Mr Abdulai Brima underscored Stats SL willingness to continue to work together with NEC and welcomed the need for a technical committee to work on further details.
The mutual agreement of having an MOU for action that will define and guide the working relationship between the two institutions climaxed the meeting.