By: Fatmata Mansaray……………………………….
SLPP Chairman for National Registration Committee, Jacob Jusu Saffa has stated on national television that the APC Government should be blamed for the ongoing blunders in the voter registration process.
Saffa said on Star TV that the Government failed to listen when SLPP recommended that the voter registration should be separated from the civil registration process.
Mr Saffa said that the voter registration process is slow because the process is taking too many information that are not relevant for the voting process.
By the slow pace of the process and if it continues in this manner, the SLPP strongman also suggested that the 3.5 million people targeted by NEC to register will not be met.
He suggested that one option that NEC should consider to speed up the registration process is to review the questions so that NEC staff can only concentrate on the questions required for voting and that all other questions needed for the civil registration to be completed at a later time. “Too many questions which are not relevant for the voting is time wasting,” Saffa stated.
Jacob Saffa also criticised the APC government for lack of adequate funding for the registration process saying that there is a huge funding gap which is the failure of the government.
There were many other issues that Saffa raised, relating to the registration process as Chairman of the SLPP Registration Committee. Other issues he raised are that too many machines are breaking down, batteries are running out quickly in the machines, problems with the identification of people to register, locations of the centers are far from some communities and that some NEC staff are incompetent to handle the process.
On staff incompetence, Saffa cited an instance in Makeni where a registration process was delayed because the staff forgot his password to operate the machine which he said is poor quality of staffing to manage the process.
The SLPP National Registration Committee Chairman therefore called on NEC to summon an urgent meeting with all political parties to discuss these concerns so that appropriate actions can be taken.
Mr. Saffa informed the general public that by end of the week, SLPP will summon a Press Conference where all their concerns will be made public. He refused to be drawn into the question of whether the time for the registration should be extended saying at this stage it is premature to comment on that. But asked about the preparedness of the SLPP for the forthcoming elections, Saffa adamantly stated “SLPP must come to power; either we win or we win”