The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has on Thursday 13th April 2017, issued a press release extending the date of voters’ registration for a two week period. Which means the current ongoing voters’ registration process can now end on Sunday 30th April, 2017.
The NEC press release followed a decision overwhelmingly reached on Thursday 13th April 2017, by the Sierra Leone House of Parliament for the extension of the registration date, with MPs citing numerous challenges that fraught the process.
Earlier on, the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) has in a press release dated 11th April 2017, opposed any extension of the stipulated registration date, which should have ended on Sunday 16th April 2017, citing financial constraint to man its observers so as to adequately monitor the process.
SLPP’s press release states that the decision of NEC of wanting to extend the registration date is a mere tactic to let poor opposition parties, who are unable to pay their party’s observers, to be disinterested in the process.
However, the National Secretary General of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC), Ambassador Osman Foday Yansaneh confirmed to me that the extension is welcoming to his party. He said, “the press release from the SLPP is very unfortunate and does not reflect the wishes of the general people’s representatives.”
Ambassadors Yansaneh said the decision of the House of Parliament, which comprises of members from both the SLPP and APC, is indeed welcoming and can help in not disenfranchising a large number of potential voters. He said since MPs from both SLPP and APC, who are direct connections to the people, have seen the need to extend the process, then it is a positive move by NEC.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.