The National Election Watch (NEW) and civil society organizations have held a meeting to discuss the August 11 elections at the Sierra Leone Red Cross Society’s hall, Maxwell Khobe Street in Kenema.
Giving a background on NEW its national coordinator, Rev. James Lahai, said they started operation in 2002 during the election, and that the 1996 International Observers worked alongside local observers which, he said, was not enough to ensure free and fair elections.
He pointed out that, “it is a coalition of civil society organizations, NGOs and other stakeholders who came together to observe elections,” stating that “election malpractices start from the recruitment of NEC officials, boundary delimitation and registration”.
The chairman of the meeting, Arnold Kaima of Campaign for Good Governance (CGG), said the consultative meeting was geared towards “putting ourselves on a very sound footing so that we will know our mandate and role in the electoral process”.
He disclosed that, “NEW will observe not only the elections but the stages leading to the elections”.
NEW’s deputy national chairman, Ken Gana Conteh, explained about the operations during the electoral process including the formation of the strategic management committee, district coordinators, regional coordinators and chiefdom and zonal focal persons.
Mr Conteh emphasized that, “observers have to be neutral, non-partisan” and that all activities were to be at chiefdom levels.