By Moses Kay Fembeh
On Monday 19 September 2022, the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone held a successful engagement with journalists about the just concluded phase one of the registration process which started on 3rd September and ended on 17th September 2022, at the ECSL Headquarters Tower Hill, Freetown.
The ECSL Boss assured members of the fourth estate and the general public that they as an institution responsible for conducting free and fair elections nationwide shall make sure that they live by the dictates of the law and no political party shall dictate to them what they should do or not. Therefore, the general public must not doubt its credibility as an institution.
The ECSL Boss Mr Mohamed Konneh went on to attest to the fact that there were some challenges on the ground but he has been grateful to God for having competent commissioners, staff and stakeholders for their timely intervention and call to duty in the registration process which at the end yielded them an outstanding turn-up of 1, 345, 176 registered citizens across the country.
“Notwithstanding, we had challenges during our training exercises and the August 10 protests would have been a threshold for the registration process to be postponed but we thank God that we maintained the stipulated startup date which was 3rd September 20222. We have been able to deploy our staff members to their various centres for the commencement of phase two of the registration process, from Tuesday 20th September to Tuesday 4th October 2022.
However, Commissioner Konneh was very grateful for the presence of the fourth estate as they helped the general public by feeding them information and he hope that the right message will be sent out to the public. The Director of Operations, Mr Mohamed Briama Jah from the Police Headquarters, George Street was in attendance to update ECSL and the general public about their different arrests and cases gathered during the first phase of the voter registration process.
Commissioner Konneh further updated the fourth estate and told them that the news making rounds on social media that the EU has given 10 million dollars to the commission is not true and it is a mere tale against their institution. He further commented on the provisional data registration that was collected in phase one Starting with Eastern Region 269110; Northern Region 241847; Southern Region 295759; and Western Area 350 452; making a total of 1, 345,176 registered persons.
He applauded the Government of Sierra Leone as the materials provided were fully funded by the government of Sierra Leone and not foreign aid.
Furthermore, he promised that 1815 centres will be opened on Tuesday 20th September 2022 for phase two.
In addition, the Director of the National Civil Registration Authority (NCRA) Mr Massaquoi was also in attendance to offer a general knowledge on the different birth certificates issued to the general public and said that the staff at ECSL should be much focused and not accept any fake birthday certificate as he went on to make some clarification on the differences between a fake and a real birth certificate.
Assistant Inspector General of Police Mohamed Briama Jah who doubled as the Director of Operations in the Sierra Leone Police updated members present about their different arrests done so far during phase one of the registration process. “We have records of some people that were arrested across the country. We have 9 cases, 16 suspects, 2 have been charged to court and one of the two is Mohamed Massaquoi alias Big Fish who was arrested for disorderly behavior at the St. Paul church on the 5th of September 2022. On the 9th of September, Kadiatu Toronka was arrested and charged for assaulting police officers at Kamayamacommunity Lumley. “In Freetown East, 36 individuals were arrested making voter registration cards for people, 25 were men and 11 were women. They are under our custody helping us with the investigation and 17 cases are under our watch”, A.I. G Mohamed Briama Jah said.
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