The National Elections Watch (NEW) yesterday highlighted its reporting strategy and disposition on tomorrow’s polls to media practitioners at the Sanntano House in Freetown.
Explaining NEW’s reporting strategy and disposition, the regional director of Talking Drums Studio (TDS), Francess Fortune, explained that NEW with its decentralized structure would organise at both regional and district levels.
She explained that, “NEW will identify observers who will be trained for every polling station”.
The TDS regional director further elucidated that two new representatives would be located at 24 National Electoral Commission (NEC) votes tallying centres until the completion of counting.
Madame Fortune averred that mobile telephone text messages would be sent by NEW’s representatives from 500 sample stations to the NEW data collection centre.
She heightened that the day after elections the first NEW report would be released, which would provide an overview of the information received by the text messages from representatives at various sample polling stations.
According to her, “NEW report will cover six key questions about how well voting and counting procedures and practices are followed”.
Madame Fortune stated that two weeks after the elections, NEW’s final report would be published providing more details about elections day activities.
The TDS regional director also explained about incident reporting, noting that incidents of violence or violation of voting procedures would be reported from all polling stations to a coordinator in each district to assist with problem solving and to track violations for reporting purposes.
She maintained that the district incident reporters were not observers, as they would not be issued with accreditation, but however noted that they (district incident coordinator) would send incident information to the NEW data collection centre in ‘real time’ by text messages.
Giving a general outline about NEW, the director Campaign for Good Governance (CGG) Ms. Valnora Edwin explained that, “NEW is a coalition of Civil Society Organisations including local and International Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), community groups and associations, which is guided by a constitution.”
She explained that NEW’s overall goal was to ensure active participation in building democracy and the practice of good governance and was actively contributing to ensuring free and fair electoral processes in 2007 and 2008.
NEW, she accentuated, had been observing the electoral process from the beginning commencing with the boundary delimitation process and culminating in Election Day voting and counting.
The CGG director heightened that following NEC’s key activities around the voter registration process, “NEW has published a report, issued six press releases and expressed concerns through consultations with key stakeholders such as NEC’s chief commissioner, paramount chiefs, Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) and others to recommend actions to be taken”.
It was noted that the Independent Radio Network (IRN) would be playing an active role in the dissemination of information during and after the elections.