In the aftermath of the multi-tier elections held on June 24, 2023, a number of polling staff members have voiced their grievances over the delayed payment of their wages by the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL).

These individuals, who played crucial roles during the electoral process, expressed frustration as they continue to wait for their salaries.

Amara Alieu, a Presiding Officer, revealed that since the conclusion of the elections, the ECSL has failed to fulfill their contractual obligations.

โ€œMore than three weeks have passed ECSL has not paid our contract signed for the past elections,” he said.

James Tholley, who has been working as a polling agent since 2022, highlighted the unprecedented delay in wage disbursement.

Drawing a comparison to previous election cycles, Tholley noted that prompt payment had been the norm. โ€œI worked as a polling agent with NEC in 2022 and 2018 and we were paid promptly after our work is completed,” He said, urging the commission to promptly address their concerns and ensure swift payment.

Mohamed Serry echoed the same sentiment, suggesting that the ECSL seemed reluctant to fulfill its payment obligations. He pleaded for public attention to compel the commission to take action and release the funds owed to them.

Serry mentioned that the head of his Polling Center had indicated that payment would be made in the coming week, but confirmation from the ECSL was necessary.

Responding to the mounting concerns in an interview with Sierraloaded, Albert Massaquoi, the Director of External Relations at ECSL, assured that all individuals who had worked for the commission during the elections would be compensated.

Massaquoi clarified that the delay was not due to a refusal to pay, but rather a matter of processing a large number of names and details.

He acknowledged that approximately 92,000 people were awaiting payment, causing a slowdown in the disbursement process. Nevertheless, Massaquoi reassured the polling staff that their wages would soon be settled.