During the launch of the Voter Registration exercise earlier this week at the Brookfields Hotel complex in Freetown, the Director General of the National Telecommunication Commission (NATCOM), Daniel Kaitibie, told the audience that information dissemination on such an important event in the history of the country is of utmost importance, and in this regard, his institution is partnering with the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone to ensure that citizens get the required information about the various registration centres and the duration of the exercise.
Daniel Kaitibie noted that in achieving this goal, he has engaged the various mobile operators in the country, who showed a willingness to provide free services to the Commission to enable the apt and timely dissemination of information to the public. In this regard, Kaitibie disclosed that a toll-free line was arrived at for citizens and the ECSL to use, which is 838, across all networks, adding that this is line already available for use. Furthering that the mobile operators have also agreed to Text messages roll out and provide Ring Back tones on the phones of their respective subscribers. To further enhance the work of the ECSL, Kaitibie disclosed that engagements with the media have resulted in the creation of Radio platforms and Advertising opportunities for the ECSL.
Read the Statement below:
Mr. Chairman, Chief Minister, please allow me to stand on existing protocols.
I am pleased to make a statement at this grand launch of the voter registration exercise for the conduct of multi-tier elections in June 2023.
The National Telecommunication Commission (NATCOM) was established by the Telecommunications Act of Parliament in 2006 (As amended) to regulate the telecommunication sector and provide licenses for telecommunication operators and service providers.
Mr. Chairman Sir, the event today is a novelty in the history of the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone and a clear manifestation of the core principles of transparency, accountability, and credibility of the ECSL.
NATCOM is very delighted to partner with ECSL to showcase the act of nationalism and patriotism in the call of duty. This partnership is also in line with our core strategic objective to interface with the public and private sectors and other stakeholders through the promotion of continuous engagement.
Suffice it to say that voter registration is quite a pivotal process in the pre-electoral cycle. Because of its importance, information dissemination and effective communication for voter education has to stand out clearly.
ECSL approached us at NATCOM and requested that we use our good offices to have our service providers- Mobile Network Operators make available to them platforms to disseminate electoral messages. In order to have a clear pathway to this partnership, we signed a memorandum of understanding which explains our mode of operation.
In the several meetings we had with ECSL and Africell, Orange, QCell and Sierratel, they consented to give support relating to the:
A toll-free line across networks
Text messages roll out
Ring Back tone
Radio platforms, and
Let me hasten to say a very big thank you to these mobile companies, as we are indeed very grateful.
The shortcode 838 has been configured on all networks and is ready to use.
In line with H.E The President’s vision, NATCOM will continue to support the utilization of shortcodes to create an inclusive digital footprint in the telecommunications sector in Sierra Leone.
On behalf of NATCOM, I implore all Sierra Leoneans to please use our services diligently. Allow me Mr. Chairman, distinguished ladies, and gentlemen to plead and encourage all Sierra Leonean citizens who are eligible to vote to turn out in your numbers to go and register in the centre where you intend to vote beginning from 3rd September to 4th October 2022.