By Zacharia Jalloh, Strategic Communications Unit MIC.
A team of high profile officials of the National Electoral Commission which comprised the Chief Electoral Commissioner and chairman Mr. Mohamed Kenewui Konneh on Monday 2nd August 2021, paid a visit to the Ministry of Information and Communications to update the Ministry on the up coming validation conference on electoral reforms and also to solicit their support for the involvement of the media especially SLBC, during the reform process. The meeting which took place at the conference hall of the Ministry of Information and Communications focused primarily on the importance of the media in the electoral reform process for enhanced public knowledge of the exercise.
The Chief Electoral Commissioner and team were greeted by senior officials of the Ministry which included the Minister of Information and Communications Honourable Mohamed Rahman Swaray, the Permanent Secretary Mr. Kwame Yankson and the Director of Information Mr. Emmanuel Turay.
The National Returning Officer in the meeting, commended the work of the Information Minister in broadening the media landscape. He solicited the cooperation of SLBC in the electoral reform process and impressed on the MIC to expedite their request.
The Honourable Minister of Information and Communications Mr. Mohamed Rahman Swaray welcomed the NEC team and expressed his willingness to work with the Commission in popularizing their work. The Honourable Minister assured the Commission of SLBC’s support in the process as a state broadcaster.
Honourable Mohamed Rahman Swaray explained to the Commission how steps have been taken to improve the media and to increase citizens access to information.
According to the Minister, elections must not be a warfare activity but a serene process. “Elections should be like every normal day activity where citizens express their constitutional rights unhindered,” said the Minister.
Albert Massaqoui, the Director of Media and External Relations at the National Electoral Commission, informed the Ministry of the ongoing review of the electoral laws by a consultant Barrister Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai. Albert Massaqoui said there are over 100 recommendations made by Election Observer Missions (EOM) and these recommendations have been put into 6 clusters.
The Conference which is expected to be held on the 10th August 2021 is intended to hear from panelists drawn from different sectors in the society on how best to implement those recommendations.
The Honourable Minister in his final note reassured NEC of government’s commitment to support the Commission in holding free and fair election.
The meeting was climaxed by a symbolic presentation of the Commission’s Strategic Plan and 2020 Annual Report to the Honourable Minister of Information and Communications.