Magnus Öhman discusses Sierra Leone’s 2007 elections. He explains the considerations necessary during election sequencing, the current legal and constitutional framework for elections in Sierra Leone, and the various successes and challenges of Sierra Leone’s recent elections. He describes the responsibilities of the National Electoral Commission, the legal framework that governs it, and its successes and challenges. He also explains the training of poll workers, the boundary delimitation process, voter registration, and the various safeguards against fraud during both registration and voting. Öhman also touches on the development of political parties in Sierra Leone, problems with the involvement of donor countries and international organizations, and the role of the media in elections.
At the time of this interview, Magnus Öhman was the country director of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems in Sierra Leone, a position he had held since 2007. Öhman began working with IFES in 2005, after receiving a doctorate in political science from the University of Uppsala in Sweden. He worked on political-party and campaign-finance issues from the 1990s, with a focus on disclosure processes, public funding systems and sustainable solutions. He worked with political finance initiatives in a series of countries including Afghanistan, Armenia, Georgia, Indonesia, Liberia, Lebanon, Nigeria, Sudan and Zimbabwe. He was the lead author of the political-finance module in the BRIDGE curriculum, considered the industry standard on training in elections, democracy and governance.