SIEC’s neutrality attacked

Chief Electoral Officer Mose Saitala

The Solomon Islands Electoral Commission’s ‘neutrality’ has been criticized – day one of the Biometric Voter Registration Process.

Speaking on behalf of hundreds of White River Residents, Mr. Bobby Soro Ledi questioned SIEC why yesterday’s designated venue, the Laundry Valley Anglican Church was not used for the process.

Mr. Soro Ledi further criticized SIEC for choosing the current West Honiara MP’s Constituency Development Officer’s area for yesterday’s registration.

He questioned SIEC’s neutrality in this illegal decision to remove a registration center from its designated venue to one not even in the Movement Plan.

“Just anyone can see it and will be surprised and say this should not happen, because inside this registration schedule they already put in the areas that are marked. It should be Laundry Valley Anglican Church.

“But i didn’t see people going there to register. They came to register a the CDO’s house which is not inside the biometric registration schedule. How i see it, it’s totally wrong.”

Mr. Soro Ledi suggested, yesterday’s voter registration for West Honiara should be null and void as it was conducted outside SIEC’s authorised registration Movement Plan.

He warned the Solomon Islands Electoral Office to sit down and carefully calculate how it will tackle this incident because the success of the 2019 National General Election depends on how it handles this case.

He has written a formal complaint to the Electoral Commission.

Meanwhile, the West Honiara Constituency Development Officer, Brian Taupiri in his response said, neither the Constituency office nor himself have any part in yesterday’s registration process.

Mr Taupiri said, it was the officers in charge of West Honiara registration who chose to use his parent’s residence for registration.

He added, West Honiara Constituency office did not offer to host the registration program.

The West Honiara CDO said, it was a choice of venue by the registration officers and the Electoral Commission should resolve.

“I believe this might be something to do with the Electoral Commission and has nothing to do with me as a Constituency Development Officer for West Honiara constituency and it has nothing to do with us even operating it.

“I was also shocked when it came out in the news. But it’s good that we clear the information, give out the information so that people know what is the real story behind it.”

However, the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission explained, in its designated locations and Movement Plan for West Honiara constituency, the CDO’s residence was never the location identified.

SIEC only learnt of the relocation yesterday when complaints were raised.

It told SIBC Online, SIEC in its Movement Plans ensure neutrality by using schools, clinics, churches and other neutral compounds for registration saying, the Voter Registration Centre was supposed to be at Laundry Valley – Church Building.

SIEC is taking the matter seriously and will deal with those responsible for the relocation.

By: Leni Dalavera

 

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