The Leadership of Parliament has engaged the ChiefElectoral Commissioner and the four regional Commissioners on issues surrounding the final voter register for the upcoming 7th March 2018 General Election.
The meeting which was organized by Parliamentalso attracted the PPRC Chairman, the Chairman of the National Registration Authority and the UN Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leone.
According to the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Chernor Bah, the purpose was to ascertain the final voter register for the coming election, for which he and other leading MPs raised several concerns of citizens.These ranged from alleged omission of voters from the registertoexcesses and various issues for clarification, necessitated by the recent NEC Press Release.
The Deputy Speaker noted that as a Parliament, representing the widest interests of the citizenry,they realize that any challenges regarding the electionmust be addressed to pave the way for a fair and creditabledemocratic exercise.
The Leader of the House,Hon. LeonardFofanah,expressed disapproval on the number of votersso far registered for the election, saying that many names had being left out byNEC andthat severalcomplaints have reached Parliament that thousands of nameswere being omitted from the original voter register, whilstcertain areas recordexcessesor surplus registrations with misplacement of datathat NEC needed to clarify.
The Deputy Leader of Parliament,Hon. Hassan Sheriff, told the meeting that during voter verifications,it was even discovered that some MPs’ names had been omitted. He affirmed that “we cannot deprive a single voter in the election.”
On the other hand, the Acting Minority Leader, Hon. Ansu Kai Kai and the MinorityWhip, Hon. Sidi Tunis were very pleased with the operations of NEC and advised that they be given more time to settle their challenges.
Respondingto the allegations, the NEC Commissioner, Mohamed UnfaAlieConteh and hisRegionalCommissioners briefed Parliament with responses to the allegations.They assured the House that the final voterregister is the true reflection of their work and that “absolutely nothingwasomitted”.They said theyomitted 1,539 voters on the voter register for double registrationandthat those names have been already forwarded to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice for court action. The UN Resident Coordinator in Sierra Leonethanked the Leadership of Parliament for the invitation and assured that the UN will provide expertise andresources to ensure that theelection is fair and credible.