Ballot papers arrive in advance of Sierra Leone elections

Alhaji Sesay, 35, moved through piles of sealed boxes wrapped in a white plastic on a hot Monday afternoon at Lungi International Airport in the Port Loko District of Northern Sierra Leone.

With a pen and a notepad, Sesay scribbled serial numbers, districts, and tags from the labels on the boxes of ballot papers, one-by-one.

Sesay is a member of one of the new political parties that will be taking part in the country’s fourth national elections since the end of the civil war.

He, like members of the other political parties contesting the March 7 polls, were busy that afternoon, witnessing the arrival and inspection of ballots boxes that had just arrived via a charter flight.

Ballot papers arrived under the noonday sun, as Sierra Leoneans set to go to the poll to elect their representatives for the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Councils.

Sensitive electoral materials were flown into Sierra Leone thanks to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which provides support to the National Electoral Commission with funding from the governments of Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom and European Union.

As a political party representative, Sesay is happy about the transparent and inclusive manner of the arrival and inspection of the crucial electoral materials for elections next Wednesday.

“In response to a request from the Government of Sierra Leone and the National Electoral Commission (NEC) UNDP established a multi-donor project to support the technical preparations for voter registration and the 2018 elections. This follows a successful project that supported the NEC in the drawing of new electoral boundaries in 2016.

Previous Sierra Leone elections received large amounts of donor support, not only for technical assistance but also through meeting the cost of processes such as voter registration and polling itself. Recognizing the maturation of Sierra Leonean institutions, the project focuses only on key processes and areas that require support or improvement.”


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