By State House Communication Unit
In order to ensure credible elections in 2018, President Dr Ernest Bai Koroma on Monday 4 December urged National Electoral Commission (NEC) officials at State House to address all issues surrounding the 2018 elections, particularly those that came out during the distribution of the voter identification cards.
In an effort to enhance increased participation in the next polls, the president expressed serious concerns raised by citizens in terms of the security of the cards as well as putting up a robust system of verification that ensures no eligible voter is disenfranchised.
Giving updates on the preparatory work for the 2018 elections, the Executive Secretary of NEC, William Addo Davies said as of the 3rd December 2017, the commission has distributed 2,486,510 voter cards out of the 3,178,663 eligible voters representing about 78% of centres reported. On issues relating to the distribution of voter cards, Mr Davies reported that there are 105 cases of mismatched photos, 3788 cards in wrong centres in Kenema, Port Loko and Western Urban, 13 centres in Tonkolili accounting for cards with wrong constituencies and ward codes, 2493 cards with wrong district codes in Tonkolili and Western Rural, 127 lost cards in Port Loko while 4129 photos were retaken nationwide.
Mr Davies said the aforementioned issues reported will be immediately rectified and cards will be taken back to communities and redistributed to ensure that affected communities and individuals take part in the 2018 elections. He further disclosed that the commission has completed the nomination of the Village Head elections, while nominations for Paramount Chief Member of Parliament is slated to commence on 17th – 26th January 2018.
Commenting on the elections management system, Mr Addo Davies said NEC has approved a regional set up with five regional centres and plans are underway to enhancing the IT systems, setting up centre identification, staffing and training, engagement with political parties and stakeholders and putting together a progressive reporting module for the elections.
The next update has been slated to take place in a fortnight.