March 20, 2018
While some section of the mainstream media and social media platforms are busy misinforming the public with regards the performance of staff at the National Electoral Commission on the conduct of the March 7 elections, the chairperson of the commission yesterday issued a statement debunking such misinformation.
A local newspaper yesterday reported that some ballot boxes were found in a certain location in Ogu Farm, Goderich, west end of Freetown.
However, a statement from the commission refuted the claim, adding that ballot papers were counted immediately following the closure of polling stations on elections day and that they recorded results on results forms and sent to tally centres.
“This is why ballot papers can be found in District offices. This is in adherence to procedures and that they are not being hidden,” the commission noted.
“With regards to one particular story featuring packed ballot boxes ,reportedly photographed in a compound at Ogu Farm, the boxes were in fact photographed at the NEC Western Area Rural District Office in Waterloo – exactly as where they should be, according to official procedures,” said Chief Electoral Commissioner Mohamed N’fah Alie Conteh, who has been suggested to sustained unfair criticism even prior to the election by a minute section of the press.
The release said that in the area of NEC IT staff allegedly manipulating elections results, they have permanent IT staff who have been engaged on secondment and worked with the National Civil Registration Authority during the joint voter and civil registration period.
“These IT personnel, who are still staff of NEC, conduct themselves professionally and remain supportive of the commission’s activities,” said the release.
The commission advised the public to always consult them for information regarding elections and avoid the spread of rumours and what it referred to as unfounded information.
In the run up to the run-off election, the commission has been subjected to intense criticism by mainly the ruling All Peoples Congress, who have since filed a complaint raising several issues and even questioning the credibility of the commission.
In the lead up to crucial second round of election, social media platforms have been awash with misinformation, with some unscrupulous people spreading tribal and hate messages.
In a press release issued last week, the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists expressed grave concern about the increase in hate speech and tribal slants making its way into the campaign ahead of the presidential run-off slated for March 27, thus condemning the act and called for calm.