IPAM to hold SUG elections on-line
Sierra Leone, Freetown: In a bid to reduce the risk of physical violence and migrate into digitalization, the Administration of the Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), on Tuesday 14th September 2021 disclosed that the coming Student Union Government (SUG) election which is scheduled to take place on the 18th September 2021 will be held on-line.
Student Union elections in the University of Sierra Leone has always been marred by violence and many times SUG elections have been postponed, cancelled or abandoned. It is in this vein that the administration of IPAM decided to explore an alternative means (online voting) to ensure a credible, electoral process that will usher in a new and acceptable student leadership.
According to the University, some of the other rationale for the on-line voting alternative is geared towards, among other things,
- eliminating the risk of violence and potential threat to the persons of innocent students, staff, faculty and members of the public,
- To protect the physical structure and property of the institution, as riotous student conduct always leaves the College,
- To unburden the national security apparatus with the overwhelming task of contending with student violence,
- To contribute in protecting the wider interest of public peace, especially for colleges situated close to the Central Business District
- To accelerate the University’s quest to migrate its key operations to the on-line learning management system.
Director of Communication, University of Sierra Leone, Dr. Hindolo Tonya Musa, disclosed that the University had embarked on voter education, which include sharing of video clips explaining the online voting process among students. He said the online voting will be a case study which he opined will be successful.
In a power point presentation, Deputy Director, Information Communication Technology (ICT), Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), Michael Kamara, disclosed that eligible voters (those who have paid fees in full), may cast their vote through a voting app or through the University’s website (www.usl.edu).
He continued that eligible voters must go through some form of verification, after which voters email and phone numbers can be captured, adding that it is on those phone numbers and email that a secret password will be sent for voting on polling day.
He added that when a student opens the portal, he or she should click on “cast vote,” when that is clicked on, the list of candidates will pop up, thereafter, a voter can vote for his or her choice of candidate.
Kamara also revealed that eligible voters can access the portal for voting, but only once. He furthered that past students cannot have access to the portal. He assured that the source code is well secured and will not be tampered with.
Deputy Vice Chancellor, Professor Edmond Nonie, thanked the ICT Directorate for a job which he said has been done tirelessly. He revealed that yesterday was the fourth time the voting portal was being tested.
He noted that every new system will have some kind of what he described as inertia (not wanting to move ahead). He added that the voting portal is no difference.
He spoke of some concerns raised by students in respect of the portal. However, he said those fears or concerns have been allayed. He urged the students to comport themselves during the electioneering process and after the process. “After election, we should be in governance. We do not want election to go into governance,” he said.
Deputy Registrar, Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM), noted that the coming SUG election is the first that will be done online. He added that the ICT has developed a web base for all students to access it.
He said that students of the University applied through their emails, and are expected to maintain these emails for the purpose of receiving their secret password for voting. He opined that SUG elections have turned into life and death issue, but that it was time to change the trajectory.
He also noted that IPAM is close to the Central Business District (CBD), and that any act of violence has the tendency to affect people’s normal businesses.
Some of the student contestants who were present at the meeting requested for additional time for voter verification, but the administration disclosed that their application will be considered on the advice of the ICT Directorate. SKS/15/9/2021
By [email protected]