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ELECTION IS A TESTIMONY TO PEOPLE’S SOVEREIGNTY PDF Print E-mail
View Point
Written by BANKOLE CLIFFORD EKUNDAYO MORGAN, HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE   
Wednesday, 12 April 2017 18:40

(The thoughts expressed in this article are purely and entirely the thoughts of the author)

Election in any democratic setting, include the enjoyment of those rights that will elicit the full participation of individuals in determining the political life of his/her country. An election is a decision making process through which eligible citizens(those who have reached the age of majority, 18 years and above and with sound mind) freely choose their leaders through the ballot box to hold public offices for a specified term.

Generally, people vote with the expectation that the office holders would represent their communitiesand or countries best interest.  Elections are viewed as a central feature of the rule of law, human rights, and democracy. Essentially, election is a testimony to peoples’ sovereignty and that ought to be respected and the process must be credible, otherwise there will be challenge with regards the acceptance of the result.

ELECTIONS SERVE THREE ESSENTIAL PURPOSES

It is my opinion that elections serve three essential purposes. Firstly, elections provide an avenue for the peaceful resolution of competition for political power. Secondly, election confers legitimacy upon office holders who are elected through majority vote and lastly, elections provide an effective avenue for citizens to express their free will and hence participate in the governance of their country. From all indications, election is not a moment for greedy and corrupt politicians to influence the electioneering process, nor dictate the outcome of the result, neither manipulates especially the youths, but election in my opinion should be the expression of the will of the people entitled to vote.  Elections are conducted for electorates who have endeavoured to register to freely express their will through the ballot box on who should be their next leader. That is why it is very essential for all eligible voters to endeavour to register from the 20th March, to 16th April, 2017. I subscribed to the notion that Voter Registration is the Heartbeat of Democracy. We register to vote in order to be the architect of our destiny.

VOTER REGISTRATION ESTABLISHES THE ELIGIBILITY OF ELECTORATES TO VOTE

In every electoral process, the most critical and crucial period is what is known as Voter Registration. If conducted well, voter registration confers legitimacy to the process. The entire electoral process may be perceived as illegitimate should the registration exercise be flawed. Voter registration establishes the eligibility of electorates to vote. As one of the more costly, time-consuming and complex aspects of the electoral process, it often accounts for a considerable portion of the budget, staff time and resources of an election management authority. It is important to note that the National Electoral Commission(NEC) did their best with regards mechanism put together for the voter registration exercise. However, by my observation their best does not seem to match up with the general expectation of the public.The registration exercise has lots of challenges ranging from the seemingly complex questions, the low turn-out, the time frame for the completion of registration of a single individual at a centre, the inadequate centres in some locations like Koyah Town, Wellington and also the distance covered to access the registration centres by potential voters in some areas. It is my view that NEC will extendthe voter registration exercise. I might wrong, but the total voter registration is not commensurate to what people were expecting. The registration process is said to be slow due to some of the questions which I think are not relevant by my estimation and I see no necessity to blend the voter registration exercise to that of the civil registration. Both are essential exercises that should be done independently.

THE RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN ELECTION IS ONE THE CORNERSTONES OF DEMOCRACY.

The enjoyment of the right to participate in election is one of the cornerstones of democracy. The most fundamental form of participation in decision making exercise like election,is voting in free, fair, credible and regular elections. For citizens to exercise their democratic right to vote, relevant authorities need to establish a comprehensive and inclusive voters’ list, also called a voters’ register. The list should be carefully maintained to ensure that each eligible citizen is registered to vote once and only once in an election.

A voters’ list makes it possible to separate two of the most important functions of the election management authority, namely verifying voter eligibility and controlling the legitimacy of the voting process. Essentially, voter registration list may also be used for several purposes such as in voter education, and should be provided to all registered political parties and candidates to aid them in their campaigns. It is very difficult if not impossible to conduct elections without a credible voter registration exercise.

VOTER REGISTRATION IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPOANTANT TASKS OF ELECTION ADMINISTRATION

It is important to note that for election to be credible, the body conducting the election must ensure that voters have met all eligibility requirements, and there is a detailed list of all registered voters captured, the voters’ list helps confer legitimacy on the electoral process. Conversely, the legitimacy of the process will immediately be called into question if there are problems with the registration of voters, and particularly with the integrity of the voters’ list. As a human rights advocate who has observed Presidential and Parliamentary elections before, I have realized that voter registration exercise is one of the most important tasks of election administration.Essentially, if voter registration exercise is conducted well, voter registration confers legitimacy to the process. But if the body conducting the election carried out the registration exercise in a faulty manner, the entire electoral process may be perceived as illegitimate and that is should the registration exercise be flawed.

VOTERS’ LISTS SUPPORT DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES

It is important to note that voters’ lists support democratic principles by fostering political equality for all citizens and actively promoting the inclusion of eligible voters in the election process. During elections preparation differences may arise over how much effort election management authorities would require to register voters from groups that historically have lower-than-average levels of registration and voter turnout. Normally, these minority groups include: women, the aged, persons that are physically challenged, the homeless, voters in hospitals, youth and first time voters, and the poor. In some developed countries, system is in place through which focused and targeted registration campaigns can be conducted in order to increase the participation of these groups. Am yet to see such mechanism been put in place by the National Electoral Commission in Sierra Leone.

COMPLIANCE OF MULTIPARTY ELECTIONS ALLOW PEOPLES AND COMMUNITIES TO FULLY DEVELOP

It is my opinion that the respect and compliance of multiparty elections allow peoples and communities to fully develop. Essentially the conducts of multiparty election isa positive steps towards building democracy, having respect for human rights and the rule of law. One of the major characteristics of multiparty elections is that it presents alternatives, which enables a choice to be made by electorates between one set of leaders and another. But generally, elections provide a forum for holding politicians accountable for their policies and or their actions. These legitimise the will of the people and ensure that elections act as an agent of social communication and change. It is my view that without a transparent, credible, participatory and legally recognized electoral process, there would be challenges with regards acceptance of result and this eventually will lead to social disorder which will breed underdevelopment in society. That is why it is very important for those in election administration to maintain integrity and follow procedural due process of the law.

 

Editorial

2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul

 

The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in  Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of  the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th  IPRA conference in Turkey,  at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th  IPRA  conference in Istanbul  to serve a second term of two years.

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Business News

Four illegal fishing cases found in Sierra Leone in four days

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone, April 20, 2017/ -- Four illegal fishing cases have been found during a joint surveillance mission conducted by Greenpeace (www.Greenpeace.org/Africa/en) and Sierra Leone fishery authorities. Two Chinese vessels and one Korean vessel have been arrested for infringements of Sierra Leone fishing legislation, including possessing or using illegal fishing nets on board, no visible marking and a lack of required paperwork, including log books and authorisation for unloading catch. Fishing authorities ordered the vessels to return to Freetown port for further investigation. A fourth vessel, owned by an Italian company, was found with four kilograms of shark fins on board. Though not illegal under Sierra Leonean laws, this is a clear violation of European Union (EU) fishing rules. This boat’s case will be taken further with relevant EU authorities.

In addition, more than 70 bags of shark carcasses were found on one of the Chinese vessels.

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Media News

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In Nigeria, seven journalists were arrested and detained during the period. In Cote d’Ivoire, six journalists were arrested and detained in a single incident while one journalist each was affected in Guinea and Togo, bringing the total number of journalists affected to 15. In respect of the other media workers, nine staff of a newspaper printing firm were arrested in single incident. In Cote d’Ivoire, six technicians working with the state-owned television station were also arrested in a single incident.

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A man whose action speaks louder than words, Mr Nicol-Wilson has been appointed as new Ombudsman for Sierra Leone, a position reserved for high-profile people, who are well-respected and with unblemished character. Mr Nicol-Wilson has the typical pedigree of an Ombudsman, best known both in Sierra Leone and internationally as a champion for justice and human rights.  

The Parliament’s decision to approve Mr Nicol-Wilson was anticipated, as the high-profile human rights lawyer emerged unscathed from an exchange of views with Members of Parliament.

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View Point

ELECTION IS A TESTIMONY TO PEOPLE’S SOVEREIGNTY

(The thoughts expressed in this article are purely and entirely the thoughts of the author)

Election in any democratic setting, include the enjoyment of those rights that will elicit the full participation of individuals in determining the political life of his/her country. An election is a decision making process through which eligible citizens(those who have reached the age of majority, 18 years and above and with sound mind) freely choose their leaders through the ballot box to hold public offices for a specified term.

Generally, people vote with the expectation that the office holders would represent their communitiesand or countries best interest.  Elections are viewed as a central feature of the rule of law, human rights, and democracy. Essentially, election is a testimony to peoples’ sovereignty and that ought to be respected and the process must be credible, otherwise there will be challenge with regards the acceptance of the result.

Read more...

News - Press Release

PARLIAMENT DEFERS DEBATE ON THE FINANCE ACT 2017
The Parliament of Sierra Leone has on Thursday 20th April 2017 unanimously voted for the deferment of debate on the Bill entitled “The Finance Act 2017”, pending a pre-legislative briefing and that it should be piloted by the substantive Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Momodu Kargbo.
Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, Minority Leader of the House who moved the motion explained the importance of the Finance Bill that it provides for the sources of revenue for Government in respect of taxation. She furthered that the pre-legislative hearing will clearly explain the reductions, additions, and significant changes that have been included in the Finance Act of 2017 to Members of Parliament, who will better articulate issues connected thereto during the course of the debate.
The Rt. Hon. Speaker of Parliament, SBB Dumbuya said that “judging from the significance of the Bill, it should be preceded by a pre-legislative briefing” as per the dictates of parliamentary practices and procedures.
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Society -Local News

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Although these departed loved ones had died and were interred several years ago in my absence that thanksgiving service enabled me to truly emotionally connect with their demise. For one of the deceased the circumstances of his death did not permit us to give him a fitting funeral so to me that service served as his fitting, albeit belated, funeral service. That event has now freed me from the encumbrances that had prevented me for almost 19 years to put my thoughts about his demise on paper. This piece therefore serves as a tribute to his memory.

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Development

PRESS RELEASE: Rural Renewable Energy Project Conducts Installation Training

FREETOWN, 19 April 2017: UNOPS Sierra Leone is hosting a training for selected installation companies, in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy, the President’s Recovery Priorities (PRP) programme and United Kingdom Government’s Department for International Development (DFID – also known as ‘UK Aid’).

The theoretical aspect of the training runs from 18th to 20thApril at the Golden Tulip Hotel, followed by 14 days of on-the-job sessionsin Petifu and Conakry Dee communities, in Port Loko District.ASACO, the supplier of the solar equipment, is providing the training facilitators and installation tools.

Participants are mainly Sierra Leonean engineers from Barefoot Women Solar Engineers Association (BWSEA),Frontier Business Solutions (FBS) and APTECH Africa Limited. Training contents include, photovoltaic (PV) system basics, types of solar systems, arrays and connections, project safety and guidance on using the installation checklists.

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Politics

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"This matter has been set down for hearing by the Court for April 26, 2017."
 
According to a spokesman for the Sam Sumana family Matthias Bendu who was with Sam Sumana at the airport until the aircraft was airborne because of advanced information reaching the family that there would be some problem awaiting Sam Sumana at the airport, Matthias Bendu told this Writer on the cellphone from the airport that Sam Sumana "was detained by Immigration Officers at the airport for more than thirty minutes  after the aircraft  landed, and it was due to the intervention of the Inspector General of Police Francis Munu who told the immigration Officers that Sam Sumana had not committed any crime and must be allowed to travel".
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