By State House Communication Unit.
In a bid to ensure free, fair and transparent elections, the Government of Sierra Leone on Thursday 28 September 2017 summoned the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to provide an update on the March 7, 2018 general elections.
During the update at State House, the Commission’s Executive Secretary William Addo Davies referenced the 6th September 2017 press release published by NEC with total of 3,178,663 voters nationwide and the said figures, he clarified, were obtained from the reconciliation of the electronic Provisional Voter Register (PVR) and the manual records.
He explained that a total of 43,011 records in the voter register were without electronic bio-data. Analyzing this, he said, 39,276 records were not initially transmitted but however reported that the records have now been retrieved and transmitted.
Mr Addo Davies said the September 6th press release indicated that 3,735 electronic records were lost due to faulty machines but that 1,992 were later captured in three centres and have been transmitted as follows: Western Area Urban 933, Western Area Urban 301, and Kono 758 records were captured and transmitted. As of 6th September 2017, an outstanding number of 1,743 records were identified and included in the voter registration he maintained, and further noted that misconfiguration of voter registration data sent to wrong centres have been corrected.
With regard matters of duplication and under age registration, Mr Addo Davies informed that NEC is working with the offices of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and the Inspector General of Police to facilitate a legal process in respect of 1,539 suspects adjudicated as “duplicates” during the voter registration exercise. He said NEC has consolidated the voter registration data for the printing of voter identity cards and assured the Commission would shortly announce a timeline for the distribution of those ID cards.
Reporting on legal matters, the Executive Secretary said three persons including two from Kono and one in the Western Area Urban have so far filed litigation against NEC for excluding them from the voter register and that the Commission had filed an appearance on the said matter in the High Court on 25 September 2017.
In the area of elections financing, out of the Le 72.9 billion approved allocation for the first quarter of 2017, Mr Addo Davies said, NEC has received Le 53.04 billion with an outstanding balance of Le 19.8 billion excluding Le 2.1 billion approved allocation for revision of electoral boundaries for constituencies and wards.
Mr Addo Davies also disclosed that NEC is working with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for the conduct of village head elections as well as paramount chief members of parliament elections, saying that both parties are jointly conducting revision of councillors list.
NEC Chairman N’fah Alie Conteh assured of making available a comprehensive voters’ register in December 2017.
The Deputy Director General, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development however disclosed the disbursement of Le 75 billion from the Finance Ministry of which the Bank of Sierra Leone has already released a total of Le 53 billion to NEC.