According to the National Electoral Commission (NEC), 1,539 people registered more than once during the mass voter registration process earlier this year. Duplicate and multiple registrations could cause tremendous damage to the credibility of the voters list and the elections.
On Thursday 14 September 2017, the Commission announced that it met with the Chief Justice of Sierra Leone for the establishment of an electoral offences court to adjudicate cases of multiple registrations.
Speaking on the establishment of the court, the western area NEC Commissioner, Miata French, said, “We have just raised it with him reminding him that he needs to set up the court. He has not got back to us.” She said the court will deal with multiple registrations and other electoral offences. “If there is a specific court for electoral issues, things will go faster rather than joining the que in the normal court. But that is up the Chief Justice.”
The fate of the 1,539 duplicates or multiple registrants is yet to be determined. “If you are suspected of having registered more than once, it means that you had two or more records taken from you during the registration period. What we have done is that if you register three times, we maintain one in the register and forward the two for prosecution. You register twice, we record the one in the register and we forward the other… so that’s where we are.” The Commissioner said the court should move quickly.
She assured, “Elections will go on March 7, 2018. We are where we are supposed to be six months before elections in terms of our activities.”
Amara Musa Komeh is the Director and Founder of Youths for Civic Education. He applauded the commission for organising the meeting stating, “It helps us to clear strategic information regarding the coming elections”. He suggested that the commission engage in massive public education spree for the electorate to be educated and sensitised on the processes about the electoral calendar.