PRESS RELEASE FROM THE RENAISSANCE MOVEMENT
19th March 2018
SUBJECT: THE INTENDED AUDIT OF NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION’S INFORMATION, COMMUNICATIONS AND TECHNOLOGY (ICT) SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES BY THE MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS
The Renaissance Movement notes that by a letter dated 16th March 2018, which appeared to have been signed by the Minister of Internal Affairs, the Chief Electoral Commissioner of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) has been requested to allow the Government of Sierra Leone to conduct an independent audit of its information, communications and technology (ICT) systems and processes “in ensuring the credibility, impartiality and integrity of the Commission is upheld”. As if dictating NEC’s response to its request, the Minister further stated in the said letter that the “Government of Sierra Leone has [already] appointed an independent information technology firm to carry out the said request”.
The Movement would like to remind the Ministry of Internal Affairs that by *section 32 (11)* of the 1991 Constitution, read in conjunction with *section 3* of the Public Elections Act 2012, NEC is an independent body charged with the exclusive mandate to conduct public/general elections in Sierra Leone and is not subject to any person or authority other than the Constitution of Sierra Leone. The Movement holds the view that if, NEC being an independent body, is of the opinion that its ICT systems and processes are penetrable and/or were compromised during the last public elections, it would, pursuant to *section 7 (2)* of the said Public Elections Act, take steps to utilize appropriate technology in the forthcoming run-off election.
The Movement would state unequivocally that the Ministry of Internal Affairs does not have any statutory mandate to request the said audit and to unilaterally and hurriedly appoint an independent information technology firm even before its request is considered by NEC, for what it is worth. The Movement therefore holds the view that the said request and appointment is unconstitutional and illegal.
Secondly, this move by the Ministry would only result in stoking suspicions of governmental interference in the mandate of NEC at such a crucial period leading to the second ballot for presidency.
The Movement urges the Government of Sierra Leone, through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, to resist any attempt to unlawfully interfere in the mandate and work of NEC, especially at this time. The Movement would remind the government of its obligations to ensure that institutions function appropriately within their constitutional mandates and its duty to not act in a manner that would undermine their independence as guaranteed by law.
Long live our beloved country, Sierra Leone!
Long live the Renaissance Movement!
Augustine Sorie-sengbe Marrah
Interim Chairman, Renaissance Movement (SL)