The electoral commission was reported to have failed to account for data for hundreds of voters, a situation attributed to faulty registration machines. But the Commission in its statement said all the details were within its system and that it only needed to recapture them.
In the statement signed by the Chief Electoral Commissioner, Mohamed N’fa Alie Conteh, the Commission said it would use all available resources to ensure that all eligible voters who were registered are able to vote.
The document detailing the final register highlights the total voters per district and region. The eastern region accounts for 631, 989; northern region 541, 949; northwestern region 490, 606; southern region 624, 822; and western region 889, 297.
Sierra Leone goes to the polls on March 7, 2017, to elect a president, parliamentarians and local council authorities.
NEC announcement left Civil Society Activists, journalists and other state actors confused and demanded clarification in the press release. The Public Relations Officer- Albert Massaquoi office was jam-packed with journalists who were trying to thoroughly explore into the registration issue but the Massaquoi maintained that he works under the directives of the NEC board of directors.
The Chairperson of the National Elections Watch, Marcella Samba Sesay has also withdrawn from commenting on the issue. The press release states that there are three million, one hundred and seventy-eight thousand, six hundred and sixty-three registered voters for 2018 with the West having most of the eligible voters.
The release also said that there are over thirty-nine thousand registered voters to be uploaded but the commission will work on it in the shortest possible time and will make sure that all those who participated in the process get to vote.
There are over 10 registered political parties in the country. But two: the incumbent All People’s Congress (APC) and the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party have dominated politics since independence. The two are expected to continue this dominance in next year’s elections.
President Ernest Bai Koroma is not eligible to run, as he is on his second and final term in office.
About a dozen people are fighting to succeed him as the APC’s flagbearer, including vice president Bockarie Foh.
The beleaguered SLPP is expected to name former junta leader Brigadier (rtd) Julius Maada Bio as its flagbearer.
A possible third force appears to have emerged with the coming of former UN under-secretary general Dr Kandeh Yumkella. Yumkella announced his resignation from the SLPP on Tuesday, following about two years of infighting for the party’s ticket.
Yumkella has announced he will be running under the banner of a coalition of smaller parties, many of them newly-created. Called the National Grand Coalition (NGC), the newly established group is yet to be fully certified as a political party.
In any case, very few analysts believe Yumkella has any chance to change the political trend that has seen the SLPP and APC dominate politics in the country since independence.