The National Electoral Commission (NEC) is visiting the districts for five days to discuss the new boundaries created by the Province Act Cap 60 of 2017, that was passed into law on the 13 March 2017.
The Director of External Relations and Media, Albert Massaquoi, said this is the second round of district stakeholders engagements on the Constituency and Ward boundary delimitation. “It is called second round because, earlier in July -August of last year, a validation of the Constituency and Wards was also done”. This engagement was done based on the existing 14 electoral districts and four regions that have changed. “We are now talking about 16 electoral districts including Falaba and Karina districts and five regions including the North West and the other chiefdoms which are now added to the 149 chiefdoms”. Massaquoi said, “The addition of these two districts means an addition of councillors, MPs, District Council Chairs and Mayors, so we are going to have Districts Council chairs for Falaba and Karene districts and Mayor for Port Loko.”
Stakeholders included: Paramount Chiefs, CSOs, Political Parties, women and youth groups and the media. The NEC Director of External Relations, said, “So far, there is mixed reactions, especially when NEC has done earlier engagements on the previous constituencies and ward boundary delimitation”.
There is mixed feelings since it has to do with new boundaries. “We still maintain the record of 132 seats but because of the rearrangement of some of the chiefdoms, Constituencies and Wards there is a concern. Some think it favours some while some think it does not favour them as they believed that it is against the wish they had earlier hoped for”.
Elections will be held nine months from now, in March 2018. Massaquoi said they will be ready.
Since the Instrument of Constituency and Boundary Limitation was kicked out of Parliament, Albert Massaquoi, said “We have met with the office of the Attorney General and a sub-committee was set up. We want to ensure that by the 7th of September, that is exactly six months to elections, we would have completed all work relating to elections”.
“By the end of June, we should have completed this engagement so by the 30th we would have completed the report and present it to the AG who will then table it in Parliament before their recess on the 13th July, so when it is approved it becomes a legal documents”.
By Betty Milton
Friday June 23, 2017.