Sierra Leone-Parliament-Approval

Sierra Leone Parliament controversially approves NEC official

APA-Freetown (Sierra Leone)

Amidst opposition boycott, Sierra Leone’s parliament on Tuesday approved a controversial presidential appointee in the National Electoral Commission.

Mr. Edmond Sylvester Alpha was appointed to serve as Electoral Commissioner for the Southern Region of the country by President Julius Maada Bio in January. It followed the retirement of the former holder of the office. But the main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) has questioned the appointment procedure of Mr Alpha.

The screening process which began earlier in the month have been delayed severally due to the strong opposition from the APC bench which, among others, say they were not consulted as required by relevant electoral laws.

Mr Alpha was among 14 presidential appointees approved by the House on Tuesday. They include seven high court judges and officials serving in various board positions. The approval is contained in the thirtieth report of the Committee on Appointments and the Public Service, currently chaired by the Leader of Government Business in the House, Sidie M. Tunis.

According to a statement from the parliament’s communication unit, Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Segepoh Solomon Thomas, presided over the day’s session. Mr Thomas was quoted saying he had no doubt in the potentials of the nominees to make the country proud. He singled out the new NEC official, appealing for him to do the nation proud by “proving his critics wrong.”

The APC MPs were present in the hall for the process of approval of the other members, save for the NEC official. MP Lahai Marah, who spoke on behalf of the main opposition bench, reiterated their position on the issue, noting that they did not have anything against Mr Alpha as a person, only that they had issues with the Commission under its current leadership. “As a person, he is qualified and we have no issue with him, but the Chairperson of NEC”, Mr Marah was quoted.


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