NCRA, Freetown, Thursday 12 November 2020 – The National Civil Registration Authority headed by the Director-General (DG), Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi has met with Political Parties, Civil Society Organizations and the Media to update them on the commencement of the Confirmation exercise of personal details of citizens and non- citizens resident in Sierra Leone and the continuous registration of the unregistered population in Sierra Leone. The meeting was held at the Ministry of Internal Affairs Conference Hall, on Gloucester Street in Freetown.
Representatives were drawn from: All Peoples Congress (APC), National Democratic Alliance Party, Alliance Democratic Party(ADP), National Grand Coalition (NGC), Peoples Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), Unity Party, Political Party Registration Commission (PPRC), and others, National Elections Watch, Center for Accountability and the Rule of Law (CARL-SL), Media, Civil Society Movement Sierra Leone, Heal Sierra Leone, Coalition for Civil Society and Human Rights Activists Sierra Leone (CCSHRA-SL), National Electoral Commission (NEC), Fifty – Fifty group, Women’s Forum Sierra Leone, and Senior Management staff of the NCRA.
In his opening remarks, the DG National Civil Registration Authority, Mohamed Mubashir Massaquoi thanked participants present for answering the call of the Authority in a short notice. He said that such positive response from invitees underscored the importance attached to having a well-functioning civil registration, vital statistics and Identity Management System in Sierra Leone. Mr. Massaquoi announced that the essence of the meeting was to continue to raise awareness on what is happening at the NCRA and to update and present to stakeholder participants on the planned activities of the confirmation of personal details of citizens and non- citizens resident in Sierra Leone, and the registration of the unregistered population. “We have seen the need for us to rearrange ourselves for us to see how we can move this process forward,” Mr. Massaquoi said.
The DG noted that the meeting was one of the many meetings the NCRA has held with Civil Society Organizations, Political Parties and other stakeholders involved in the CRVS process, adding that the meeting was a platform for stakeholders and others involved to rearrange themselves in readiness of the planned confirmation exercise.
“We are committed to making sure that we continue our engagement with you,” the DG confirmed.
The DG went on that, the NCRA had planned to kick start the confirmation exercise in March this year but it was put on hold as a result of the Covid – 19 pandemic. Mr. Massaquoi further advanced the essence of the confirmation exercise as a way of ensuring that every registrant is giving the opportunity to confirm his/her personal details with NCRA, as CRVS is leaned on the principle of leaving no one behind.
During his presentation on the planned activities of the confirmation exercise, the Director of Operations and Services, NCRA, Abubakarr Javambo said that the goal of the exercise was to give chance and opportunity to registrants to confirm their personal details seated in the NCRA civil data base. Mr. Javambo mentioned that the importance of the confirmation exercise cannot be overemphasized as it underpinned the process of having an up-to-date, accurate and reliable civil register on the population of Sierra Leone.
Director Javambo also revealed that registrants will have the opportunity to confirm their personal details at every center of their choice as the exercise will not be tied to only where they had registered. He added that the Authority has been collaborating and working closely with stakeholders involved in the CRVS process, making sure that all shades or categories of interested groups are well represented. He called on stakeholders to continue to cooperate with the NCRA especially at a crucial time like this. “We have collaborated with stakeholders in all NCRA operations,” Mr. Javambo said.
Mr. Javombo further disclosed that, the NCRA has secured clearance from NACOVERC, stating all COVID-19 measures which need to be adhered to in carrying out the confirmation exercise.
In responding to the presentation, the President of Women’s Forum, Mrs. Maude Peacock commended the NCRA for being effective and efficient in their operations. She assured the DG of her organization’s commitment in supporting the exercise and other activities of the Authority going forward.
Dr. Dennis Bright from the NGC thanked the NCRA for regularly keeping them updated with activities and programs of the Authority. He noted that civil registration is vital to the people of this country and government as a whole. He further noted CRVS will help to place Sierra Leone on the right footing in meeting international best practices on many development indexes. He asked that the NCRA should put more strength in sensitizing the general public on the importance of registering the vital events of citizens and non-citizens continually rather than in a one-off period. He assured the DG of his party’s continued effort in ensuring that the people of this country imbibed the culture of registering vital events.
The Acting National Publicity Secretary of APC, Sidie Yahya Tunis in his contribution thanked the NCRA for its engagement with stakeholders especially at a moment like this. He however, noted that a lot needs to be done on the area of engaging the public on the importance and benefit of the not only the confirmation exercise but civil registration as a whole. He added that the time line of the activities should be expedited since other institutions maybe relying on such data for their own respective interventions.
Christiana Baun who represented the National Elections Watch recommended that timeline should be allocated to the confirmation activities. She requested that enough time should be given to them as Civil Societies that will be observing the exercise. She advised that the confirmation exercise be done simultaneously rather than doing it in phases since the resources are available.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of 50/50 Group, Valnora Edwin thanked and commended the presenter and the Authority for such a clear presentation which shows that there is a very good structure in place for the work of NCRA. She however suggested that the focus should not only be on the grass root and communities but also the elitist class such as Medical Doctors, Nurses, teachers and Lawyers etc. She recommended that the NCRA should also engage the public especially the elitist through SMS alert so that they will be aware of the processes and procedures involved.
Other representatives from different political parties and civil society organizations pledged their commitment in fully supporting the Confirmation exercise as it’s geared towards national development.
Concluding, the DG, NCRA thanked all present for their support in effort of contributions and suggestions towards making the CRVS and ID management programme a success. He further encouraged all to continue working with the NCRA as much is really needed to be done in stimulating the participation of all registrants and non-registrants with the civil registration process.
(C) IEC Directorate, NCRA.