April 12, 2017 By Mohamed Massaquoi
The main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) has registered its disappointment to the Chief Electoral Commissioner of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) regarding the ongoing biometric voter registration exercise in the country.
SLPP National Registration Committee Chairman, Jacob Jusu Saffa, referencing a letter written on the 20, March 2017, said they sought clarifications from NEC on some issues relating to the Biometric Voter Registration and that they promised during the Political Parties Liaison Committee (PPLC) meeting on March 29, 2017 that they would reply to the quarries, but to no avail.
“Regrettably, for over three weeks since the letter was written, you have not replied to our letter. On behalf of the SLPP, I would like to express our disappointment for your failure to respond to the letter to date and to state that this act is against the spirit of transparency and partnership which are essential fundamentals of a free and fair electoral process,” he said.
“While waiting to hear from you let me reproduce the following questions in this follow-up letter, how many machines were imported for this process? Can you make available to political parties the serial numbers of the machines by district? What is the distribution of backup machines per district?”
Saffa questioned furthering that they were concerned about the machines being distributed serially by district, how the data collation was done and how secured was the data among other things.
“Let me hasten to reiterate that the responsibility of voter registration is solely the business of the National Electoral Commission (NEC). This means that NEC does not only conduct the physical registration of voters, but stores the data in its own server, conduct matching to check for duplication in the presence of party agents knowledgeable in Biometrics, exhibit the voter registration and issue Voter ID cards. Additionally, the SLPP wishes to emphasise that only the final voter register will be submitted to the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) and the Political Parties. The SLPP abhors any attempt by the NEC to share the data on voters with any other authority before matching is finalized,” he noted.