It seems as if it’s no longer a matter of technical problems, nor an issue of challenges, but it’s now convincing that the ECSL is attempting to either restrain or disenfranchise prospective first-time voters by all means. Since the inception of the voter registration exercise, many problems were reported especially from the North-West and Western Area.Though some of these problems have been fully or partially addressed by ECSL, others like the issue of the first-time voters keeps on metamorphosing as the day passes by.
Initially, prospective first-time voters that will turn 18 years either by the end of this year or by June 23, 2023, were rejected by the ECSL machines claiming that the machines were programmed to only register 18 years person. This issue after an incessant outcry by these anxious prospective first-time voters, it was somehow addressed. What baffles many Sierra Leoneans now is the recent blanket ban by ECSL on Yellow- Coloured Birth Certificate. This blanket ban on the Yellow-Coloured Birth Certificate doesn’t even consider the legitimacy or the authenticity of these certificates.
For example, when a first-timer shows a yellow-coloured birth certificate to any of these registrars, they won’t even glance at it to ascertain its authenticity. They will just say “We boss den say make we nor accept Yellow Coloured Birth Certificate”.
This blanket ban is a clever attempt to not only disenfranchise many first-time voters, but to also violate their rights to participation. A frustrated and disappointed rejectee expressed. Worst is that, these rejectees are not even given RRFs (Rejection Form) as mandated by the Electoral Framework which will give right to any rejectee to appeal. This new development has raised many eyebrows and causing many thoughtful people to cast aspersions, others are asking critical questions that need clarification as to:
Why ECSL will give a blanket ban on the yellow-coloured birth certificate? Could it be that ECSL doesn’t want the prospective first-time voters to register and be eligible to vote and be voted for come June 24, 2023?
3-Importantly, why did ECSL program the registration machines not to even accept prospective first-time voters that will turn 18 come June 23rd 2023 ?
4-Why the frequent missing of names?
These inconsistency and irregularities by ECSL are posing many problems and making things very difficult for these prospective first-time voters and other potential voters as well.
Sadly, most of these first-time voters have resorted not to even partake in the ongoing voter registration exercise. A complete violation of their right to vote and be voted for.
This is worrisome and scary!
For a transparent, fair and credible elections, these issues need to be amended.