By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
Director of External Relations at the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone, Albert Massaquoi, last Thursday, disclosed that the commission will issue out 203,000 accreditations to people and institutions to observe the June 24 general elections across the country.
He said the objective is to ensure that Political Parties, Observers, both National and International, and media both national and international, also who wish to witness the conduct of all or any aspect of the electoral process, are given the opportunity.
He made the disclosure at the Bintumani International Conference at Aberdeen, during the Commission’s engagement session with accredited national and international observes and the media.
According to his presentation, accreditation is done at both the Commission’s Head Quarters and also at district levels.
He also presented that they will issue 180,000 accreditations to Political Parties at district Level, 20,000 to national observers at headquarter and district level, 1,000 to international observers and 2,000 to journalists at both headquarter and district level.
He further noted that, any person or institution who observes an election without prior accreditation from the Electoral Commission will commit an offence that is liable on conviction to a fine not less than NLe10, 000 which could be more on the discretion of the presiding judge.
He said the media is natural partners in the efforts of the ECSL to disseminate accurate information and relevant and effective messages to the Sierra Leone population.
He cautioned that observers should not be involved in the administration of any aspect of the electoral process, either by giving directives to or interfering with election officials in the performance of their duties and all observers should comply with lawful directives issued by or under the authority of the Electoral Commission, including an order to leave the ECSL Centre or any premises, where electoral activity is conducted by the Electoral Commission.
He said where an accredited observer fails to comply to a material extent with any condition of accreditation; the Electoral Commission may revoke its accreditation after having given reasonable notice of revocation to that observer
He however, called on people or organizations that are yet to apply for the accreditation to do so now by following the necessary steps.