• December 19, 2022

APC CALLS FOR RELEASE OF VOTER REGISTER

APC CALLS FOR RELEASE OF VOTER REGISTER
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The main opposition All People’s Congress (APC) party has last Friday 16th December 2022 urged government and the Elections Commission for Sierra Leone to release the aggregated voter register for the sake of fairness and transparency in the process. The party made the call at a press conference hosted at its National Secretariat on 11A Old Railway Line Brookfields Freetown.

Sierra Leone’s biggest opposition APC party described the voter registration process as flawed and called for development partners including the Economic Community of West African Sates ECOWAS and others to conduct an independent audit of the process, and ensure public disclosure of the aggregated voter register and data collected from the exercise.

The discredited call on the ECSL by the opposition APC emerged barely six months to the much anticipated June 23rd 2023 multi-tier elections.

On the purpose of the press conference, one of the leading APC flag bearer aspirants, Dr Richard Konteh, popularly known as D-Unifier, who chaired the programme, told journalists that the conference was held to draw public and the attentions of development partners including ECOWAS and the entire international community to the unfolding deliberate inconsistencies and the entire conduct of the process as they are approaching the June 24th 2023 multi-tier elections.

He emphasized the need by the Government of Sierra Leone, development partners and the ECSL to make sure that they conduct free, fair, peaceful and credible elections in Sierra Leone come June 23rd 2023. He said that his party the APC has been monitoring and process and engaging with the ECSL and other elections management stakeholders on irregularities discovered during the voter registrations and in the verifications, in a bid to ensure that such anomalies are fairly addressed in the best interest of fairness with credible in the whole voter registration process.

Dr Konteh expressed the APC party’s dissatisfactions about the imbalanced manner in which the ECSL and the Government of Sierra Leone conducted the voter registration process wherein the commission presided over the deletions of thousands of registrants from the voter register, for which he urged Government, ECSL and development partners including ECOWAS to make a public disclosure of the aggregated voter register and institute an independent audit of the whole process and date collected in the best interest of international best practices and in accordance with the electoral laws of Sierra Leone.

Dr Konteh said the Proportional Representation is being imposed by Government and the ECSL has already reduced the number of parliamentary seats the APC stands to win in the western area, in the north and other areas. He therefore reiterated that an independent audit of the aggregated voter register and data be conducted.

Joining his party’s firm call on the ECSL for public disclosure of the aggregated voter register, Alfred Peter Conteh in his capacity as the Chairman of the APC Interim Transition Governance Committee (IGTC) said: “We have been monitoring the process and we uncovered that a considerable number of registrants were deleted from the voter register, which the APC needs to look into”.

He pointed out that deletions that took place in the south, east north-west, in the north and the western areas rural and urban must be clearly verified. “We urged the ECSL to do the right things in accordance with the laws of the country”, charged the APC IGTC Chairman.

Issuing a strongly worded press statement that clearly defined the APC party position regarding ECSL’s failure to transparently disclose the aggregated voter register, the IGTC Secretary, Hon Abdul Kargbo said the deletion of registrants from the voter register of the aforementioned geopolitical locations, is aimed at disenfranchising voters.

He thus charged that the APC party demands a public disclosure of and an independent audit of the aggregated voter register, adding that the voter registration and the verification processes faced so many challenges.

“In our opinion, both exercises faced self-induced challenges and were deliberately designed and employed to create an unlevel playing field to disenfranchise a certain section of the electorate at the expense of our party. With regards to the Voter Verification/Registration, it has become evident the data for thousands of citizens who had registered in previous election cycle was either incomplete, incorrect or missing from the register. In many of these instances, citizens were not allowed to do the necessary corrections or create a fresh registration. Instead, citizens were inappropriately referred to the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) whose mandate does not include voter registration”, said Hon. Kargbo.

Hon said the withholding of the voter register by the ECSL is aimed at disenfranchising voters in certain areas in the country. Hon Kargbo noticeably pointed out that the ECSL has deliberately violated the constitutional provisions that mandate citizens register with their birth certificates and their national identity cards, which the commission later ignored.

He said the ECSL also deleted photos of hundreds of registrants from the voter register in the recently concluded controversial voter registration process. Hon Kargbo said that the deliberate inaccuracies of the commission have proclivity of disenfranchising eligible voters in APC party strongholds in the north, north-west and in the western areas – rural and urban constituencies and wards.

He said the number of population registered in Kailahun district didn’t tally with the population captured by the widely condemned 2021 mid-term housing and population census records.

The APC IGTC Secretary disclosed that the census records are not credible and therefore called and the Government of Sierra Leone and the ECSL make a public disclosure of the aggregated voter register data

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