By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The Chairman and National Returning Officer of the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (EC-SL), Mohamed Konneh, has yesterday briefed the media on the preparedness of the commission for the June 24th elections.
Speaking at the Bintumani International Conference Centre, Konneh reiterated that the commission would not provide the personal details of voters to political parties for security reasons.
He said they have provided political parties with the electronics copies of the final voters register, noting that the details they provided to the political parties is not the same with what the commission has.
Konneh said what the EC-SL staff will have at the centres on the polling day will include all the information of the voters.
He said what they provided to political parties captures just the photos and names of voters, with no personal details.
He noted that they want to prevent what they learnt during the voters registration process where people were photocopying voters’ register because they had the personal details and identity numbers of people and created lots of voters identity cards to the extent that a politician was even arrested with a fake printer of the voter cards.
He said before they printed the cards, the Commission took a decision that, in order to securitize the cards and make it very difficult for people to photocopy, they will not provide political parties the details so that nobody will use it to do something unlawful.
He said the secured personal details of voters are the details they are going to be using to ask voters questions to ascertain their eligibility.
Konneh disclosed that the ballot papers for the elections together with the result and reconciliation forms are already in the country since Monday 19 June, and that they have been taken to the 16 districts.
He said in the next 24 hours they will dispatch those materials to the respective polling centres across the country.
He said the early voting for people performing Hajj was conducted on the 15 June and that the issues was brought to the Commission’s attention by the Hajj Committee to put in place a system that will allow people who will be going to Hajj to cast their votes before the polling day.
He said an instrument was prepared, taken to Parliament and was approved.
He further noted that a day before the elections, they called a meeting with the political parties and informed them that they were going to conduct the early voting, adding that the political parties were at the centers and witnessed the process.
He said they have concluded trainings for polling and tallying staff and affirmed that the elections will hold on June 24th.