After the June 24 general elections in Sierra Leone, the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) still withholds thousands of polling staff money which has left these workers unsatisfied.

This is not a secret that the just concluded general elections in Sierra Leone was highly tense as polling staff were risking their lives in some panicky polling stations for almost three bloody days as ECSL conducts the most controversial elections ever in the history of Sierra Leone.

The sacrifices of polling staff have been left unnoticed by the commission, though. It is also clearly evident that many dates were announced to do payment of ECSL staff in all districts but all turned out to be fake promises.

Quite recently, the commission and its partners came up with a brilliant ‘escape route’ that all polling staff should do verification in all districts so that ECSL could ascertain staff authenticity. This verification process later on, however, was transformed into a show of frustration as many workers almost gave up the entire process.

ECSL had assured polling staff that upon completing the verification process, a pin or “password “will appear in each worker’s phone and the staff should collect the money in any Commercial Bank operating in Sierra Leone.

At first, it was said that all ECSL staff who conducted the elections will receive their money via Afrimoney. But the above promises remain have not been met since then. The recent verification has brought to light what many people have referred to as unprofessional employment protocols done by the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone.

Many ECSL workers were not included in the list of workers that conducted the June 24 general elections. Some appeared to be ‘ghost workers’ and are alleged to have been employed by ward-coordinators which was largely based on favouritism. The big question now that hangs in the air is, how are election workers going to be paid?

During the verification process, the ward-coordinators assured them that, the process is on an inclusion basis and therefore, the names of staff who worked during Election Day will be included soon in the system. Since then and to date, there is no update from ECSL as to when and how staff are going to have their money.

Unfortunately, the government and those responsible to monitor the process have given a blind eye to the ESLC’s workers concerns. For how long these workers should continue to wait considering the prevailing hardship in the country? How many dates have to be announced again? What effect all the verification processes will have? Are all the excuses worth it? Who is to believe, ECSL and its partners? Conclusively, ECSL and its partners should try and put their records straight. For a big institution like ECSL whose integrity has been questioned lately as a result of the outcome of the June 24 general elections, they should try to defend and regain their lost integrity.

What supposed to be 7 days after verification for ECSL polling staff to get their money has now been extended to 21 days. To conclude, one may ask a rhetorical question what ECSL is really up to?