SOLOMON ISLANDS DENIED FREE AND FAIR ELECTION: J.C.S.G
The Joint Civil Society Groups and Concerned Citizens claims, Solomon Islands has been denied ‘free and fair’ elections this year.
The new Biometric Voter Registration system whilst addressing election malpractice such as double-registration and or double-voting has significantly increased ‘vote-buying’ and ‘political patronage’.
The group’s Interim Chairman and Acting CEO of ANSI Barnabas Henson claims, the country’s weak economic situation compounded by corruption has forced eligible voters to substitute their long-term well-being for immediate benefits by selling their voter identification cards.
Mr. Henson adds, the newly introduced voter identification card has allegedly become the newest and most highly demanded commodity on the market right now.
He claims, a good majority of registered voters who have registered in Honiara at the out-of-constituency voter registration centre have allegedly ‘sold’ or traded their voter ID cards to MP’s and other intending candidates for money, material, school fees, food, gifts and others.
There has also been allegations that certain MP’s as well as intending candidates have dispatched teams of agents into constituencies supposedly to recruit people for registration, offering transport, food, money, and goods in exchange for voter ID cards, the group said.
Mr Henson further adds, this is destroying the credibility of the whole election process and essentially denies the nation of ‘free and fair’ elections thereby further destroying our future.