19th February 2018
Is Monetary Reason Why NEC Prints Calamity Voter ID Cards in Sierra Leone?
By a press release (21/12/17)
The National Electoral Commission is currently correcting the wrongs recently found in the calamitous Voter ID card mistakes in Sierra Leone.
Reports have discovered monetary reasons to be the primary cause of this blunder. NEC is mandated by the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone to conduct all voter registration exercise. (Photo: NEC headquarters in Freetown led by Commissioner N'fa Alie Conteh).
The National Civil Registration Act brought into effect the National Civil Registration Authority which gives (NCRA) the mandate to do civil registration in Sierra Leone. Prior to the voter registration process, there was a legal wrangling between NEC and NCRA over who has the mandate to conduct voter registration.
Cut long story short, there was an agreement between both institutions to blend the Civil and Voter registration processes and do it jointly. The first 6 weeks were dedicated to the Voter registration while the subsequent 7 weeks (with a two weeks break in between) were dedicated to Civil registration.
The Donor community pushed for this marriage between NCRA and NEC and said they would fund the process and provide registrants with an ECOWAS multi purpose smart ID Cards. However, the donors backed out of the deal later leaving the burden of funding on GoSL.
When the Civil and Voter registration process was completed the the funding which was up to the tune of about $6 million was not available. So NEC in their wisdom and their commitment to sticking to the March 7th date for the elections decided to print temporal plastic laminated cards that voters can use to vote during the elections.
So don't blame the Government of Sierra Leone OK. That's temporary (Voting purposes) and you will get your standard ID Card from NCRA. It was chaos when thousands of electorates received their voter ID cards only to find anomalies.
The problems range from having misplaced pictures on cards to the incompetent NEC mixing up gender issues. Putting male details where female details should be was the lowest point in the making of the 2018 elections voting cards. No wonder, President Ernest Koroma recently intervened and advised the NEC to sort out the mess as soon as possible.
Courtesy: By Young Professor