Sierra Leone National Electoral Commission on course to holding elections in 2018

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 September 2017

State House in Freetown yesterday, Thursday 28 September 2017, summoned the National Electoral Commission (NEC) bosses to report on progress in preparations for the holding of general and presidential elections on 7th March 2018.

According to State House Communication Unit’s report, the Commission’s Executive Secretary -William Addo Davies said that the 6th of September 2017 press release published by NEC showed a total of 3,178,663 voters nationwide.

The figures he said, were obtained from the reconciliation of the electronic Provisional Voter Register (PVR) and their manual records.  (Photo: President Koroma).

He explained that a total of 43,011 records in the voter register were without electronic bio-data. Analyzing this, he said, 39,276 records were not initially transmitted, but however reported that the records have now been retrieved and transmitted.

Mr Addo Davies said that the September 6th press release indicated that 3,735 electronic records were lost due to faulty machines. But 1,992 were later captured in three centres, and have been transmitted as follows: Western Area Urban 933, Western Area Urban 301, and Kono 758 records were captured and transmitted.

As of 6th September 2017, he said that an outstanding total of 1,743 records were identified and included in the voter registration. He noted that misconfiguration of voter registration data sent to wrong centres have been corrected.

With regards the issue of duplication and under age registration, Mr Addo Davies said that the NEC is working with the offices of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice and the Inspector General of Police to facilitate a legal process in respect of 1,539 suspects adjudicated as “duplicates” during the voter registration exercise.

He said NEC has consolidated the voter registration data for the printing of voter identity cards, and assured that the Commission would shortly announce a timeline for the distribution of those ID cards.

Reporting on legal matters, the Executive Secretary said three persons, including two from Kono and one in the Western Area Urban, have so far filed litigation against NEC for excluding them from the voter register, and that the Commission had filed an appearance on the said matter in the High Court on 25th September 2017.

With respect to the question of financing of the elections, Mr Addo Davies said that out of the Le 72.9 billion approved allocation for the first quarter of 2017, NEC has received Le 53.04 billion, and there is now an outstanding balance of Le 19.8 billion – excluding Le 2.1 billion approved allocation for revision of electoral boundaries for constituencies and wards.

Mr Addo Davies also disclosed that NEC is working with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development for the conduct of village head elections, as well as paramount chief members of parliament elections. He informed State House that both parties are jointly conducting revision of Councillors list.

NEC Chairman N’fah Alie Conteh (Photo) assured State House that NEC will publish a comprehensive Voters Register in December 2017.

The Deputy Director General of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, reported that  the Bank of Sierra Leone has already released a total of Le 53 billion of the budgeted  Le 75 billion by the Finance Ministry towards the costs of preparing for the elections.

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