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NEC WORKERS WRITE PRESIDENT KOROMA

THE GENERAL STAFF OF THE NATIONAL ELECTORAL COMMISSION
C/O NEC HEADQUARTERS
TOWER HILL, FREETOWN

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE

His Excellency,

We the staff of the National Electoral Commission hereby expresses our profound appreciation for the brilliant step taken by the government to improve the conditions of service of our Commissioners as reflected in the healthy salary package they now receive. This we believe is a practical evidence of fostering the Commission’s credibility and respectability.
However, Mr. President, it is sad to note that our Commissioners have
no intention to improve the working conditions of us their employees.
Since 2008 we have taken several positive steps to let our
Commissioners look at us as responsible human beings and respect our
feelings and aspirations, but to no avail.

We started off by forming a Staff Association through which we could
articulate our grievances and concerns to the Commission.
Unfortunately, they viewed this move as counter- productive and thus
devised and put to work a divide-and-rule strategy aimed at thwarting
our objectives; and indeed they succeeded. In 2008, we also had the
opportunity (thanks to UNDP) for senior and middle management staff to go on a working visit, as well as a study tour, to the Ghanaian
Electoral Commission (a Commission whose leadership our Commissioners
admire and hold in high esteem). Upon return, an experience sharing
session was organized where those who went on the tour could share
lessons learnt and how it could be practiced back home. When our
colleagues, led by the then Chief of Human Resource, touched on
conditions of service and privileges enjoyed by our Ghanaian
counterparts, our employers expressed marked dismay over the topic and openly rebuffed the said chief, and since then ensured that they
frustrated her efforts at ensuring staff enjoyed humane conditions at
NEC (until she had to resign and seek job opportunity elsewhere). In
addition, our Chairperson and her arch lieutenant overseeing the
eastern province, ensured that staff had no opportunity of coming
together to form or express opinions or concerns, and never allowed
the formation of committees (like those provided for in the NEC
standing orders) where they could sit with us to address issues
affecting us or let alone negotiate on any issue.
In such a state we were left to their whims and caprices; the duo
(Madam Chair and her arch lieutenant – commonly known in NEC as the
axis of evil) will determine what will happen, when and how. They wil enforce all the draconian rules in the standing (otherwise known as
‘punishment orders’) but will never implement the good things in those documents with a clean heart, unless after adding threats and insults.
With our backs pressed against the wall, we were forced to issue a
memo to our Commissioners early in December 2008 wherein we
highlighted the evil motivated treatments meted on us as staff,
demanding to be treated like human beings with respect, and an
improvement in our conditions of service (see attached copy of the
said memo). The duo (the axis of evil) could only respond with more
threats of punitive measures against supposedly suspected leaders of
the quiet revolution. To this end we responded with a sterner memo
which cowed them into taking some painkilling measures to address some
of the concerns, with a ‘gentlewoman’ understanding that concrete
steps will be taken this year (election year, in which we give over
100% effort to our job) to make a remarkable improvement in our
conditions of service.
Being respectful, obedient and humble servants, we took them by their
words and gave them time to come up with something. But like Pharaoh,
they were overtaken by pride and immediately threw away the idea of
improving our conditions of service into a running gutter.
Capitalizing on the fact that we are grossly preoccupied with work
this year, they kept delaying attempts to address our core concerns
until September when a consultant was contracted to review our
salaries. Upon the advice of our slave masters, the consultant too
kept delaying the presentation of his report to the Commission for
approval and necessary action until we have to resort to unorthodox
means before he could resurface with his report.
Sir, the crux of the matter now is that our commissioners have decided that the new pay package will only come into effect next year; but it will surprise you to know that theirs came into effect this year and they have just being paid huge salary drawbacks; for which we are not jealous at all. So we expected our Commissioners to show fairness for once, and give us our legitimate due. Why do they have definitive interest in always seeing us depressed and frustrated? Mr. President, sir, from the aforementioned, you will realized that we are left with no choice but to down tools come Monday 5th November, 2012, till our new pay package is implemented to the letter.
However, as patriotic, peaceful and well-meaning Sierra Leoneans who have always done their best to make this nation proud both within and outside the sub-region in terms of election administration, we will not want to take such actions without informing the people of this nation who we vowed to serve faithfully at all times.
Therefore we have decided to bring our plight to the attention of the government, through your good office, being a magnanimous father of the nation, for timely intervention and
adequate resolution.

COPY:ALL LEADERS OF POLITICAL PARTIES
SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE UN SECRETARY GENERAL
ALL DIPLOMATIC MISSIONS
ALL PRESS HOUSES
ALL COMMISSIONERS – NEC
ALL NEC STAFF (DISTRICT, REGIONAL & HQ)

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