Fixing Electoral Irregularities
Following the conduct of the 2018 Parliamentary and Presidential elections, over one hundred recommendations under key categories were made by the Elections Observer Mission (EOM) that speak to the multiple irregularities identified during the course of the election cycle. These thematic arrears included electoral legal reforms and processes; electoral offence and petitions; electoral political processes; election security; media in elections; and electoral funding.
These shortcomings in electioneering in the country had been there only God knows when; hence the setting up of a National Task Force made up of all political parties and development partners charged with the responsibility of implementing the recommendations geared towards perfecting the conduct of elections.
Three years down the line and barely two years before the commencement of the electoral process, the process of implementation of the recommendations remains stalled. No doubt, this worrying situation triggered the National Electoral Commission (NEC) and development partners including the European Union and UNDP to convene a conference of the National Task Force on EOM recommendations on Thursday, 17th June, 2021 at the New Brookfields Hotel in Freetown, to discuss the status of implementation of the recommendations.
While we are saddened by the apparent complacency and levity with which the Task Force had handled such a sensitive and critical issue fine tuning election anomalies, we are hastily urging particularly our development partners who will dish out the bigger chunk of their taxpayers’ money into our elections in 2023 and even beyond, to redouble efforts in resuscitating our decayed election record.
We are indeed not oblivious of the role our national institutions responsible for election management and conduct had played over the years to conduct so-called credible and transparent elections. But more importantly, we owe it to our people for displaying an enduring democratic maturity that has added to the democratic credentials of our country.
The upcoming elections are no doubt going to be very demanding and require maximum attention to ensure a peaceful and fair conduct that will reflect the decision of the people and add to our democratic profile. The first and key step in achieving such is to follow the roadmap indicators contained in the EOM recommendations. Time is not on our side. “A stich in time saves seven”.
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