OGI observes historic elections

By Alpha B. Barrie :

The Director of the Open Government Initiative (OGI), Madam Khadija Sesay, says the organization would take a leading role in observing the elections.She made this statement during a training session at the New Council Building at Waterloo of observers comprising members of the OGI and its partners.

   KHADIJA SESAY

Madam Khadija said that the National Electoral Commission (NEC) has accredited those to take part in the observation process, adding that they should observe the process correctly. She said that the elections are crucial for the country and therefore the process must be free, fair and transparent.

She further stated that the observers should be looking at abnormalities within the process, adding that the observers should know that they are there for the people of Sierra Leone and not for any political party, stressing that one of the roles of the OGI is to promote transparency.

“We should observe the observers, which include both national and international,” she said, adding that the observers should take note of every event on that day.

She stated that before elections day, OGI observers should engage in voter sensitization across the country. Madam Sesay added that they would engage in radio discussions to explain the steps of the voting process, adding that they would deploy about fifty observers across the country four days before the elections, and would observe the situations after the elections to assess the reactions of the people.

Gibrilla Moray Jusu, who trained the observers, said that for any election to be credible staff should exhibit professionalism and they must be efficient.

He added that observers should be available and must access the polling stations, where the electoral materials should be safe and the process start on time.

He added that for one to be an observer NEC has to accredit the person and the institution the person represents, stressing that observers should abide by the rules and code of conduct of the elections.

He said observers should have specific information and should record exactly what happened in the polling stations, adding that voters should ensure that polling staff stamp their ballot papers before they cast their votes.

He revealed that if any voter makes a mistake by marking the ballot papers wrongly he/she should go to the polling staff to be issued with another ballot paper.

He said that observers should be at the various locations on time and that they record the arrival of monitors and every event within their areas of observation.

“You should record the presence of security agencies and other observers,” he said.

Chairman of civil society of OGI, Victor Lansana Koroma said observers should know how the voting is taking place.

He said other institutions are training observers without the assistance of NEC, noting that OGI observers are trained by NEC so that consistency would prevail.

“Observers should shed their political affiliations and exhibit neutrality,” he said, adding that they have to be careful as many people have respect for them.

Some members of the OGI observer group, which compose of all sectors of the civil society promised to do their best to practicalize what they learn from the training.

The observers are expected to be dispatched to their respective localities on Tuesday.

COURTESY : PREMIER NEWS

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