Sierra Leone has always had an election management body called Electoral Commission. Even during periods of military rule, when electoral activities were suspended, the technical and support staff were maintained, thus making it possible to build a reservoir of experience in election administration within the institution. The President appoints all members of the Commission, after consultation with all registered Political Parties and subject to the approval of parliament.
The tenure of office of the Commissioners is five years, and their terms and conditions of service are prescribed by parliament. The Commission was renamed National Electoral Commission (NEC), following the passing of the NEC Act 2002. The Act empowers the Commission to appoint its own staff. The Commission is currently undergoing a restructuring process, which began in 2005. Before this time, Civil Servants recruited by the Public Service Commission (PSC) staffed the Commission. At the start of the current restructuring process, the Commission returned all its then Civil Servants to the Establishment Secretary’s Office. This was followed by the recruitment of new staff in a transparent and competitive manner, and trained into a professional staff.
The National Electoral Commission (NEC) is the sole authority with the constitutional mandate (under Section 33 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, Act No. 6 of 1991, and Section 28 of the Chieftaincy Act , 2009) to prepare and conduct all public elections and referenda.
The functions vested in the Commission by the 1991 Constitution include:
- The conduct of all public elections and referenda;
- The registration of voters;
- Boundary delimitation Making regulations for the efficient performance of its functions