As part of their constitutional mandate for a nationwide engagement on final draft of Boundaries and Wards allocations, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and stakeholders including Paramount Chiefs have concluded the Bombali district validation process.
The validation process of the final draft of constituency and Ward boundary delimitation for Bombali district in the North ahead of the 2018 Parliamentary, Presidential and Local Council Elections at the Makeni city council hall drew the attention of Civil Society groups, Paramount Chiefs, the media, all major political parties, Members of Parliament, councillors and members of the public.
The Northern region Commissioner for NEC Macksood Gibril Sesay described the on-going process as very ‘successful’ and ‘important’ especially with the presence of paramount chiefs, politicians from almost all the existing political parties, the media, civil society and members of the public. He revealed that before now Bombali district used to have Nine (9) Constituencies and Thirty (30) Wards but because of an increase in population as indicated by the recent survey by Statistics the district will now have an increase of two constituencies and one Ward making it Eleven Constituencies and 31 Wards.
The Commissioner went on that after the nationwide constituency and ward boundary delimitation process the commission will engage in the ‘Meets and Bounds’ exercise where names will be allocated to wards and constituencies. He said after the ‘Meets and bounds’ they will then send to parliament to look into and approve to be used as law in the 2018 elections.
The Northern Region Technical Coordinator for the constituency and ward boundary delimitation, Abu Turay, said according to the recent Seven Million population data from Statistics Sierra Leone the number of seats across the country to be contested for is now One Hundred and Thirty Two (132). He said Bombali is a multi-member district with district and city councils and that based on their 52,525 maximum and 31,550 minimum thresholds that were used for determining constituency, political parties will now compete for 31 Wards in 11 Constituencies.
The deputy chairman of Bombali district council John Bito Kamara raised concerns around misplacement of villages from their permanent position into other areas that are far apart from their original constituency. Other concerns were raised by politicians, civil society members, religious and traditional leaders during the session.
While responding the Commissioner North said the process is for ‘administrative purpose’ and that all concerns are in the interest of the country reminding that if stakeholders, politicians and the general public are not constitutionally mindful in using the lowest threshold more wards and constituencies will be emerge. He assured that the Commission will look into all concerns raised and based on the assurance he called on all present especially political party representatives, paramount chiefs, the media and civil society present in validating the draft paper by raising their hands up.