“As a matter of fact we are committed to the democratic process and would not allow anyone to undermine our hard won credibility in conducting free fair, credible and transparent election” said NEC Chairperson Madam Christiana Thorpe in an exclusive interview with Awoko in her office yesterday Tuesday.
She expressed disappointment over the Resident Minister Musa Tarawally who was alleged to have gone to Pujehun a week ahead of the 14th March, 2009 bye-election with some armed men which she said posed a serious threat to the electorate in that area and they were left with no alternative but to boycott the whole bye-election.
She said their concerns are to run free and fair elections but because of the prevailing atmosphere the electoral materials were not available to the electoral officers and as a result of that the election was deferred and they were now seeking for an alternative date.
With regard the alleged interference of the resident minister into the electioneering process in ward 323 in Pujehun, the NEC Boss says they have directed the matter to the appropriate authorities for action.
She went on to say that in post election era the focus of everyone should be directed to patriotism and nationalism to foster democracy and national development rather than aggravating violence during bye-elections.
On their current strategy she added, they were now working on plans to hold free, fair, credible and transparent elections from now 2009 to 2012.
She confirmed that a huge amount of money is required for conducting bye-election, estimating that some US$ 36,000 which is equivalent to Le 108 million Leones is needed to conduct the bye-election.
She however confirmed that, they might not need all the US$ 36,000 as they have undertaken most of the things they were supposed to have accomplished to hold the said election. She added that they basically need funds to fuel their vehicles to mobilize the required electoral materials and personnel to their respective stations where the bye-election is due.
She said they have communicated with the relevant authorities with regard sourcing funds to conduct the bye-election, adding that the country is still donor driven as elections are heavily funded by our donor partners with counterpart funds from government.