staff performance

Jorge Guzman

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Focus Area(s)
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4
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Nealin Parker
Name
Jorge Guzman
Interviewee's Position
Program Manager
Interviewee's Organization
Program Management Unit, UNDP in Sierra Leone
Language
English
Place (Building/Street)
United Nations Program Management Unit
Town/City
Freetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

 Jorge Guzman explains the role of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Program Management Unit (PMU) in the 2007 and 2008 elections in Sierra Leone.  He discusses how to coordinate efforts and negotiate competing requests from donors and national institutions while still operating within the constraints imposed by the UNDP framework.  He describes how tension was minimized through negotiations and steering committee meetings with the diplomatic corps and the government.  He explains how the final election date was kept stable, as constantly changing elements like procurement and recruitment procedures affected timelines.  He describes how the National Election Committee was restructured, with positions being chosen based on merit through a detailed selection process.  He also explains how the transparency and efficiency of the NEC was established through the formation of explicit procedures and guidelines and the publishing of the results of election procedures like registration, the nomination of candidates, and the counting and tallying of votes. He finishes with a discussion of training a diverse group of people, emphasizing the importance of considering context and fostering unity to successfully implement democracy on a day-to-day basis.   

 

Profile

At the time of this interview, Jorge Guzman was the program manager of the Program Management Unit for the UNDP in Sierra Leone. He has extensive experience in public relations and administration issues related to elections, having worked with the UN in Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor, Nigeria, and Pakistan. He has been a BRIDGE facilitator, and part of the ACE Electoral Knowledge Network. 

Full Audio File Size
84 MB
Full Audio Title
Jorge Guzman Interview

Abubakarr Koroma

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Focus Area(s)
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8
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Nealin Parker
Name
Abubakarr Koroma
Place (Building/Street)
National Elections Commission
Town/City
Freetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Abubakarr Koroma explains the role of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) in 2008 local government elections in Sierra Leone.  Koroma offers insight into the process of recruiting staff members to fill NEC officer posts, detailing the measures taken toward attaining nonpartisan recruitment. He explains how United Nations officers worked alongside local officers to ensure that all aspects of the election were adequately staffed, from the early stages of registration through polling day. He discusses the commission’s collaboration with civil society organizations in monitoring trained staff members, as well as the role of the police in protecting workers’ safety during campaigning and at the polls.  He details the widespread use of radio and cellphones by both the NEC and the political parties during the campaign period in voter education.  He also explains how third-party mediation and public condemnation of deviant behavior effectively dealt with election disputes.  Finally, he addresses the steps taken by the NEC and other organizations to reach out to marginalized voters such as women and rural residents, and sheds light on what the elections may mean for the development of democracy in Sierra Leone.   

Profile

At the time of this interview Abubakarr Koroma was the senior elections officer in southern Sierra Leone as well as a district electoral officer for Bo district.  He previously served as an assistant elections officer in Tonkolili in northern Sierra Leone and a district electoral officer in the Pujehun region of the country.  Through these positions he gained extensive experience working on staff recruitment and training as well as maintaining election security and resolving election disputes.  He was involved in the production of a voter education manual for the 2008 local government elections, regularly appeared on radio talk shows aimed at educating voters, and served as coordinator of the Independent Monitoring Team. In 2010, he organized a training session on electoral administration and communication skills at the Institute of Electoral Administration and Civic Education in Freetown. 

Full Audio File Size
18 MB
Full Audio Title
Abubakarr Koroma Interview

Riza Shillova

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Z
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
9
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Richard Bennet and Morgan Greene
Name
Riza Shillova
Interviewee's Position
Assistant General Director for Investigation
Interviewee's Organization
Kosovo Police
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Kosovan
Town/City
Pristina, Republic of Kosovo
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
In this interview, Riza Shillova of the Kosovo Police discusses the transition of the police force in Kosovo from one governed by the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) to the local Kosovo Police. He first describes the recruitment process of the Kosovo police, which initially fell under the umbrella of the UNMIK police until 2003, when the Kosovo police took responsibility and changed the recruitment and selection process. Shillova details the UNMIK interview process and application procedure, including the medical check, school and field training phases and evaluations. He explains the lack of consistency in practices and policing as a result of international trainers policing in different ways; for instance, the theoretical training by European trainers differed from the field training taught by members representing other, particularly non-Western, regions. Shillova discusses steps they took to overcome some of these obstacles. He highlights the process, including: problems with background checks; the establishment of policing procedures, training, and the recruitment process; announcement of vacancies and the application process; and the establishment of local procedures and standards. He defines the role of the Professional Standards Unit (PSU), which was set up to handle impartial background investigations of candidates. He explains the collaboration with the UNMIK police until the Kosovo Police began to independently run the process in 2003, with UNMIK monitoring it. He discusses the selection of candidates and the need for a balance of representation, including efforts to bring minorities into the force. He then details the effect of the 2008 Declaration of Independence in Kosovo on the police force, highlighting the walkout of Serbs from the force and the efforts in getting them back. He outlines the three types of training of the 7000 member force they have in place since 2007 and the promotion process. Shillova concludes that trust in the Kosovo police force is mainly a result of the recruitment process, which includes representation of all minorities and genders from the communities in which they serve.   He further attributes the training of police, independent of the old police organizations, to its success. He stresses the importance of locals carrying out the process, while international organizations should take on the role of monitoring and advising; otherwise, he says, locals cannot learn.  
 
Profile

 Shillova is a lawyer by training and received a Masters in Public Administration. He joined the Kosovo police in September 1999, following the war in Kosovo. He finished his field training as a patrol officer and began investigation work in community policing, in the coordination office under the authority of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). In 2001, he was promoted to sergeant. In 2002, he was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to the division for the security of the government of buildings and very important persons escort. In Spring 2003, he became captain and served as a station commander until he was promoted to Deputy Head of Human Resources (HR) Directorate eight months later. During his role as Deputy Head, the Kosovo police became independent from UNMIK and the recruitment and selection process changed. In 2009, Shillova was appointed to the position of Assistant Director for Personnel and Trainings. At the time of this interview he served as the Assistant General Director for Investigation.

Full Audio File Size
98 MB
Full Audio Title
Riza Shillova Interview

Humphrey Assisi Asobie

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Ref Batch Number
3
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Tumi Magketla
Name
Humphrey Assisi Asobie
Interviewee's Position
Head
Interviewee's Organization
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Nigerian
Town/City
Abuja
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
In this interview, Professor Humphrey Assisi Asobie recounts his experiences working for the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) to increase transparency within the Nigerian government and its service industries through the increased involvement of civil society organizations. He goes into detail about the challenges he initially faced in his role, including recruitment issues, maintaining a strong moral compass, increasing capacity to undertake the work, countering the culture of secrecy amongst the bureaucracy, and finances. Asobie provides step-by-step guides as to how he tried to address these issues, and how he ensured the ideas were favorably received. He also talks about his efforts to build support for the reform initiatives to help move the reform process along, and the role of NGOs, civil society, and the public. He addresses questions regarding the purpose of transparency initiatives, and how to engage civil society not only in the initiatives, but also in using the information provided. He also emphasizes the need to conduct reform efforts against corruption from the ground up in order to establish a base from which to attack those higher up the ladder. Throughout the interview Asobie is candid about what strategies worked, what strategies did not work, and the lessons learned from the process.
Profile

 At the time of this interview, Professor Humphrey Assisi Asobie was head of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) for Nigeria. He has been involved in the program since 2004 as the head of Transparency in Nigeria, representing civil society at EITI. Prior to his role at EITI, he was President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities in Nigeria as well as Vice President and subsequently President of Transparency Nigeria. Upon his appointment as Chairman of EITI in Nigeria in 2008, he stopped being a representative of civil society and began representing Nigeria. 

Full Audio File Size
113 MB
Full Audio Title
Humphrey Asobie - Full Interview

Restoring Voters' Trust and Confidence: Albania's Central Election Commission, 2001-2006

Author
Michael Scharff
Country of Reform
Abstract

When he became head of Albania's Central Election Commission in February 2001, Ilirjan Celibashi faced a difficult task. Three years earlier a new constitution enshrined the commission as a non-political body charged with overseeing Albania's historically troubled elections. The permanent commission aimed to promote bipartisan cooperation and restore trust in the political system after violence gripped Albania's capital, Tirana, in the wake of 1996 national elections that the international community labeled as fraudulent.  During its first three years, the commission failed to achieve substantial reforms largely because of the partisan leadership of its chairman. When Celibashi, a former lawyer and judge, took over as head of the CEC, he had to overcome a highly politicized environment, and he set out to enact reforms to restore confidence in the commission and the electoral process. His reforms concentrated on four priority areas: staffing the CEC with competent people, ensuring transparency for the commission's activities, assembling voter lists and overseeing local election commissioners. In 2008, the political parties removed the commission from the constitution and reinstated it as a political body, erasing most of Celibashi's reforms. The case provides insight into how and why a window of opportunity opened for reform, explores how an individual was able to enact changes in a highly politicized environment and considers reasons why the changes were short-lived.   

Michael Scharff drafted this case study with the help of Amy Mawson on the basis of interviews conducted in Tirana, Albania, in June 2010. 

Associated Interview(s):  Petrit Gjokuta, Kathleen Imholz, Ylli Manjani

Calvin Benn

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Focus Area(s)
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2
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Varanya Chaubey
Name
Calvin Benn
Interviewee's Position
Deputy Commissioner of the National Registration and Deputy Chief Election Officer of Operations
Interviewee's Organization
Guyana Elections Commission
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Guyanese
Town/City
Georgetown
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Calvin Benn of the Guyana Elections Commission recounts the depth and breadth of his experience in the administration and management of Guyana's national elections, particularly focusing on the successes of the 2006 election process.  In his capacity with the commission, Benn oversaw the registration of voters and administration of polling places, including the distribution of polling supplies, recruitment and training of poll workers, and vote counting and verification.  Benn shares some relatively straightforward approaches to resolving voting day challenges, including simulation exercises, acquainting poll workers and security forces with polling places, the training of political party polling "scrutineers," the shipment of polling supplies, and the procedure for vote counting.  The interview can be broken into two related but distinct parts: Benn's role as the administrator of the polling process and his related but separate responsibility overseeing a continuous registration process for national identification cards for purposes that include but are not limited to voting registration. 

Case Study:  Cooling Ethnic Conflict Over a Heated Election: Guyana, 2001-2006

Profile

At the time of this interview, Calvin Benn was the deputy commissioner of national registration and deputy chief election officer of operations at the Guyana Elections Commission.  He became a full-time employee of the commission secretariat in 2000, having served the organization since 1975 in various part-time positions.  He previously taught and worked for the the Ministry of Education.  His experience with administration of elections in Guyana includes local, district, and national elections.  He oversaw the continuous registration process as well as a house-to-house registration verification exercise. 

Full Audio File Size
68.6MB
Full Audio Title
Calvin Benn- Full Interview

Miguel de Brito

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N
Focus Area(s)
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2
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Amy Mawson
Name
Miguel de Brito
Interviewee's Position
Mozambique country director
Interviewee's Organization
Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA)
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Mozambican
Place (Building/Street)
Electoral Institute of Southern Africa
Town/City
Maputo
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Miguel de Brito reflects on how the 1994 election in Mozambique was administered.  He highlights the important roles of both the international community and the Comissão Nacional de Eleições (CNE, or National Election Commission).  He talks about the difficulties the CNE faced in building consensus and how the CNE’s first chairman managed to overcome those difficulties. He offers observations on how the immediate post-conflict environment in 1994 shaped the administration of the elections and what impact this legacy had on subsequent elections.  He also touches on the evolution of the Mozambican election dispute resolution mechanism.

Case Study:  Compromise and Trust-Building After Civil War: Elections Administration in Mozambique, 1994

Profile

At the time of this interview, Miguel de Brito was Mozambique country director for the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa, a position he had held for three years.  He began his career as a researcher at the International Relations Institute of Mozambique in 1994.  In 1995 he started working for the United Nations Development Programme, where he worked on a comparative research project called War-Torn Societies.  De Brito spent seven years working as a senior democracy and governance adviser at the U.S. Agency for International Development office in Maputo before joining EISA.

Full Audio File Size
63.9MB
Full Audio Title
Miguel de Brito- Full interview

Alex Paila

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A
Focus Area(s)
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2
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Ashley McCants
Name
Alex Paila
Interviewee's Position
Voter Education and Public Relations Officer
Interviewee's Organization
National Electoral Commission, Sierra Leone
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Sierra Leone
Town/City
Bo District
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Alex Paila discusses various aspects of national and local election management in Sierra Leone during 2007 and 2008. These areas include the recruitment, training, evaluation and monitoring of election staff; election security; voter registration, audits and curtailment of voter fraud; information dissemination, media relations and enfranchisement of marginalized groups; and financial and logistical constraints and concerns.  He also emphasizes cooperation with community-based civilian organizations as key for information dissemination and higher voter turnouts, and he stresses relations with international organizations to improve workers’ training and monitoring, and secure funding. Paila also speaks about the issues of districting and determining electoral timetables.  Finally, he reflects upon some of the challenges faced by Sierra Leone during the elections in 2007 and 2008, as well as possible hurdles that the country may face in the future.    

Profile

At the time of the interview, Alex Paila was the voter education and public relations officer at the National Electoral Commission in Sierra Leone. Prior to that, he worked as a journalist for various newspapers, including the Ceylon Times and the Spectator. He was also employed, first as a reporter and then as deputy news editor, at the Sierra Leone Broadcast Service. Paila holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communication. 

Full Audio File Size
84 MB
Full Audio Title
Alex Paila - Full Interview

Mohammed Mokhlesar Rahman Sarker

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Focus Area(s)
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6
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Varanya Chaubey
Name
Mohammed Mokhlesar Rahman Sarker
Interviewee's Position
Director, Electoral Training Institute
Interviewee's Organization
Election Commission Secretariat, Bangladesh
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Bangladeshi
Town/City
Dhaka
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Mohammed Sarker discusses the role of the Electoral Training Institute—a sister organization to the Bangladesh Election Commission—in training all electoral management staff in Bangladesh. He explains the founding of the institute, and the role of the government of Bangladesh, international organizations and donors in strengthening the institution. Sarker reflects upon the training methods and curricula used by the institute, as well as its highly successful administrative structure.
Profile

At the time of this interview, Mohammed Mokhlesar Rahman Sarker was the director of the Electoral Training Institute, a sister organization to the Bangladesh Election Commission that is responsible for training the entire electoral staff in the country. He had held the position for two and a half years. Some time after the interview, he became deputy commissioner of the Lalmonirhat district of Bangladesh.

Full Audio File Size
41MB
Full Audio Title
Mohammed Sarker Interview

Kwadwo Afari-Gyan

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Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
8
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Ashley McCants
Name
Kwadwo Afari-Gyan
Interviewee's Position
Chairman
Interviewee's Organization
Electoral Commission of Ghana
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Ghanaian
Town/City
Accra
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
In this interview, Kwadwo Afari-Gyan explains the role of the Electoral Commission of Ghana in overseeing all public elections and referendums. He discusses the myriad responsibilities of the commission, including educating voters on the importance of participation and registering political parties and voters. He talks about the challenges of administering trustworthy elections in a country where improvements to voter registration, among other processes, are relatively new. He highlights the need for security measures to guard against fraud, and he details the creation of an Inter-Party Advisory Committee as a forum for the political parties to meet with the commission to discuss all aspects of the electoral process. 
 
Profile

At the time of this interview, Kwadwo Afari-Gyan was the chairman of the Electoral Commission of Ghana. He was instrumental in overseeing all aspects of the commission's activities, including the formation of the Inter-Party Advisory Committee, a forum for political parties to meet with the commission to discuss changes in electoral rules and procedures. He joined the commission in 1992 as the deputy chairman of elections and took up the chairmanship the following year. Prior to his work with the commission, he was a professor at the University of Ghana, Legon, and before that he taught at Santa Clara University in the U.S.  He graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara. 

Full Audio File Size
71 MB
Full Audio Title
Kwadwo Afari-Gyan - Full Interview