The Chief Electoral Commissioner of the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone, Mohamed K. Konneh has sent a message to all polling staff clarifying the issues of payment which has been eminent for weeks now in the country.
The polling staff have been persistently urging the commission to fulfill payment for services rendered under a contract that was successfully completed some time ago. These dedicated individuals were actively engaged in various capacities during the June 24th general elections, diligently ensuring a process that was not only free, fair, and peaceful but also representative of their commitment. Regrettably, despite the completion of their work, a significant number of these staff members have expressed their grievances concerning non-payment by the commission, stretching over several months now.
The commission published a notice for the ad-hoc staff to be verified in every district before the commencement of payment for which many have seen it as a delay tactics by the commission not to pay them.
In his statement, the commissioner conveyed his gratitude and deep appreciation to all the polling staff who demonstrated unwavering dedication towards ensuring the credibility of the election process. He highlighted their remarkable efforts, acknowledging their hard work and remarkable commitment to their roles.
“I want to send this message with regards to what is happening concerning the payment of the polling staff. We have made several payments since you started working with us from registration to card issuing and we do not have any problems with the staff.
I want you to know that, for the payment of the polling staff, it is the UNDP who are multi-lateral partners that funded and accepted the payment and before the decision for them to take over the payment of poling staff, we had already advertised and we had a way that we had wanted to do the payment which was through online mobile payment. The UNDP has come with the condition for us to do the verification before the payment is effected and they have put in place a system for mobile verification which was agreed by us all for the past week. They have made every effort and have reached out to over 8000 people already and those that are yet to be verified are close to 1000” he said.
He added that, because the process was slow, they planned to go to the field so that they will be able to quickly verify the staff and effect payment as quickly as possible.
He called on the staff and others related not to disturb the process by their selfish interest and warned that, if anyone is found wanting then the commission will not hesitate to allow the law to take its course, calling on the affected staff to visit their districts centres to be verified for them to be payment soon.