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NCRA New Director General Paid courtesy call on the National Electoral Commission (NEC)

The newly appointed Director General of the National Civil Registration Authority Mr. Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi and his top management team paid a courtesy call to the Chairman of NEC and their management team at NEC Headquarters in Tower hill, Freetown on Thursday 26th July 2018. He was welcome and congratulated by the Chairman of NEC Mr. N’fa Allie and his senior management team including the Executive Secretary Mr. William Ado. There was a brief reflection on the Director General when he was a staff at NEC. The collaboration of NCRA and NEC were also dilated on since the conception of the integrated Civil Register for which a task force which comprised of many stakeholders was established. The then government cabinet directives which called for an integrated civil register from which the Electoral Commission should do extraction and prepare a voter register was said to have caused concerned in many quarters, including NEC. Initially NEC said they had wanted to use data collected for the 2012 election as a baseline to establish the Civil Register but the data was obsolete and flawed. Other important things discussed are the reconciliation of NCRA Act, the Public Election Act and the section of the Constitution which mandated NEC to do voters registration to prepare the voters register. NEC said if they should extract from NCRA integrated Civil Register, NCRA must be an independent body, reference Section 25 which said NCRA must provide regular update to NEC. It was agreed that NCRA and NEC should work towards harmonizing their laws well before the next election in 2023. The taskforce which was set up should be resuscitated starting with NCRA, NEC and SSL. Other stakeholders will be brought on board as and when necessary. The Task Force can meet every two weeks or monthly. The Executive Secretary of NEC said, NCRA must do situational analysis to ascertain the current status of the Civil Register as it has become obsolete since it is now a year old. Commissioner Augusta Bockarie said desks and areas should be established to do analysis with stakeholders. Different groups should meet and discuss with to enhance the credibility of the process. Mr. Massaqoi, the information, education and communication person at NEC expressed concern about Diasporas registration and said NCRA should think of registering the Diasporas in the next election. Mr. Bekay, the IT Director, expressed concern about service provider arrangement which caused a lot of stress, especially the adjudication phase that is, taking out multiple registrations. He said in future, service provider should provide requested service with prescribed specifications. He also said that NCRA should have more than one person handling the system in many areas like IT and Operations so that the absence of one person will not create a set back or delay and would also have to wait for that person to come before things can go on. The chair Person and Chief Electoral Commissioner spoke of the importance of commitment to responsibility, which is what makes the difference between local staff and foreign expatriate.