(Freetown, 21St November 2019) A cross section of the executive of the National Elections Watch (NEW) has made a courtesy call on the Director General of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) at his Walpole Street office in Freetown.
According to the Chairperson of the National Elections Watch, (NEW) Madam Marcella Samba Sesay the visit was to get firsthand information on the current state of the civil registration process as it relates to important issues that touch on the lives of the citizenry, how the NCRA interfaces with the electioneering process and to discuss some forward looking steps NEW is envisaging for collaboration with the NCRA.
Mrs. Sesay explained that NCRA being a key national institution that promotes good governance, they see it as necessary to meet and interact with the Authority to get update on planned and ongoing activities especially information that relates to the Civil Register and the processes involved in the upcoming confirmation and registration of the 2m population that are yet to be registered as per Stats SL 2015 Housing and Population Census
The Director General of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA), Mr. Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi thanked the NEW team for the visit as well as the move to reach out to the Authority for update on the Civil Register and the upcoming registration, and Confirmation of Registrants Personal details exercise. He noted that NEW is one of the non-state actors that are of immense importance to the NCRA and the Government as a whole adding that the New Direction Government of President values the role of CSOs once it is focused and constructive fir the good of our people.
Mr. Massaquoi assured the NEW Executive that the NCRA would continue to work with Non-State actors including NEW cognizance of NCRA’s strong reputation and commitment to good governance in the country. Mr. Massaquoi told the CSO group that the Authority is putting finishing touches on the recruitment of Contract staff for the upcoming nationwide exercise which will commence in early December. “Don’t wait, come on board and let us work together. There is need for you to join us, to continue to supporting us, to intensify the advocacy and educate our people on the importance of CRVS that is both for the good of all as it the most reliable means through people and all residents of the country are made visible and accounted for.
The Director General cited the call from the National Electoral Commission( NEC) for NCRA to expedite the process of updating the Civil Register from which Voter Register will be extracted for all future elections beginning with the 2022 Local Council and 2023 Presidential and Parliamentary elections
He thanked the NEW executive particularly the chairperson, Marcella Samba Sesay for her efforts and contributions during the 2020 national budget hearing.
In the same vein, Mr. Massaquoi thanked H.E President Bio and the leadership of the Ministry of Finance for their dedicated commitment towards the success of the CRVS and ID Management programme in Sierra Leone, a support he said continue to attract international attention and admiration the DG maintained.
The Director of Information, Education and Communications, Mr. Thomas P. Sowa also encouraged the NEW team to be actively involved in sensitization and awareness raising on the activities of the NCRA particularly those scheduled for December. He acknowledged that Mrs. Samba Sesay has been very instrumental in promoting the activities of the NCRA.
Mr. Abdul Karim Hamid and Rev.
James A. Lahai of NEW urged the Director General and his team to continue to maintain and protect the credibility of the institution. They explained that as a Civil Society Organisation, they are concerned about the accuracy of the data collected by the NCRA since they do not want citizens to be disenfranchised or left out of the political process. They cited the numerous challenges that were later noticed after the 2016/2017 voter registration exercise.
The Director General of the NCRA acknowledged the concerns of the NEW Executive members and thanked them for endeavoring to reach out to him with those important observations and concerns. He also expressed appreciation to NEW for accepting to assist the Authority with sensitization and awareness raising on the pending Confirmation of Registrants’ derails and the Registration of the unregistered population to be accounted for in the Permanent Civil Register that is being established Mr. Massaquoi assured.
The Director of IEC at the NCRA and the NEW Coordinator, Rev. James A. Lahai were asked to jointly work on a Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the two institutions within the shortest possible time to guide the desired engagement between NCRA and the NEW. IEC Directorate, NCRA