By: Mohamed Jaward Nyallay
Photo source: Daybreak Africa
Sierra Leone will go to the polls in a few days. But, to understand the process, you must be familiar with the terminologies and the numerous acronyms that will be heard or seen in reports, billboards or even in the news.
Here is a list of general terminologies, acronyms and what they stand for:
ECSL: Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL). It is the electoral body responsible for conducting the general elections. ECSL was formerly known as the National Elections Commission (NEC). The commission only changed its name last year, so some people interchange the use of NEC and ECSL.
CEC: Chief Electoral Commissioner (CEC). The CEC is Mohamed Kenewui Konneh. He is the head of ECSL, and according to the law, he will announce the final results of all national elections. The CEC is also known as the National Presiding Officer.
PR System: Proportional Representation system. PR is a political system that was recently reintroduced, in which councillor and parliamentary seats will be distributed to independents and political parties based on a threshold set by ECSL.
NEW: National Elections Watch (NEW). It is a consortium of civil society organisations that monitor electoral processes. NEW is the biggest indigenous election observer body in Sierra Leone, with hundreds of observers that monitor the elections at all levels.
PPRC: Political Party Regulation Commission (PPRC). The commission is responsible for registering and regulating the affairs of political parties. This means advising them to follow their own laid-down rules to run their respective parties and national election laws that will ensure their eligibility to run in any election. The PPRC was formerly known as the Political Party Registration Commission. It only changed the term “Registration” to “Regulation,” given the increased powers it got last year through a new law.
NCRA: National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA). The authority collects data on everyone in Sierra Leonean, from date of birth to address. NCRA was part of voter registration, and ECSL used their primary data to confirm voter eligibility.
MP: Member of Parliament.
FCC: Freetown City Council.
PCMP: Paramount Chief Member of Parliament. PCMP are 14 Paramount Chiefs who are selected to be Parliament members.
SLP: Sierra Leone Police.
RSLAF: Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces.
ONS: Office of National Security (ONS). It is the highest security architecture in the country, consisting of all the chiefs from the forces; police, army, fire force, prisons and more.
PPLC: Political Party Liaison Committee (PPLC). This committee comprises all political parties running in the election and the ECSL. The committee meets frequently to discuss important issues in the election.
EMB: Election Management Bodies (EMB). The EMB consists of security forces, ECSL and every other stakeholder that is key to managing the election.
SLPP: Sierra Leone Peoples Party. It is the ruling party, led by Julius Maada Bio.
APC: All Peoples Congress. It is the main opposition party led by Samura Kamara.
NGC: National Grand Coalition. NGC is seen as the third force, given the number of votes they pulled in the last election. However, this year, they have aligned themselves with the ruling SLPP.
KKY: Kandeh Kolleh Yumkella is the former National Grand Coalition presidential candidate. He was the leader of NGC in the last Parliament and is now a strong ally of the current President, Julius Maada Bio.
Chericoco: It is the nickname of the APC running mate, Chernor Maju Bah.
PAOPA: It is a terminology used to describe supporters of President Bio.
APPA: All Political Parties Association (APPA) is an association of all political parties in the country. However, it is fractured now. Some political parties have withdrawn their membership, given APPA’s alignment with the current SLPP government. APPA has officially backed the President for reelection.
COPP: Consortium of Progressive Political Parties (COPP). It was formed as an alternative to APPA. It is a group of opposition parties that came together three years ago. APC is the biggest party in COPP. COPP has officially endorsed APC’s Presidential candidate.
EOM: European Union Election Observer Mission. A team of electoral observers sent by the European Union. The EOM has long-term and short-term observers.
IRN: Independent Radio Network. IRN is a network of over 50 radio stations across the country. They do simulcast programs in the build-up to the election, during and after the whole process.
SLAJ: Sierra Leone Association of Journalists.
Terminologies related specifically to polling centres
There are 3,630 polling centres in the country. Every polling centre has a few stations depending on the number of voters registered for the election at the centre. As a result, you have 11,832 polling stations in the country. The following terminology is frequently used to describe processes, documents or officials who are all related to elections:
Polling Agent: This means a person appointed as a polling agent by either a political party or an independent candidate to observe the election in a polling centre.
FVR: Final Voter Register. It is prepared by ECSL, where details of each voter are captured.
VOI: Voter Identification Officer. The VOI is responsible for identifying the voter and confirming if their name is part of the voter’s register.
PO: Presiding Officer. He is in charge of the election in a polling station.
BBC: Ballot Box Controller. The official is in charge of the ballot box. They handle it and ensure people cast their ballots in the correct box because there are four boxes in each polling station.
RRF: Result Reconciliation Form. The RRF is the result form given to political parties at the end of counting in each polling station. RRFs are also posted publicly to be seen on the wall of the polling stations.
PCM: Polling Center Manager. They are responsible for running the whole centre. They supervise and coordinate all the stations within the centre, among other functions.
This public education article is a product of the SLAJ/NDI SuperNewsRoom on Combating Disinformation in Sierra Leone’s 2023 electoral cycle. The project is supported by Global Affairs Canada to enable citizens to have access to credible and accurate information during the elections.
The SuperNewsRoom is powered by Africell SL.
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