STATEMENT: PDP Queries Balloting Process
The People’s Democratic Party has questioned the Supervisor of Elections on the balloting process for the upcoming elections. Of concern is the fact that the Supervisor of Elections has confirmed that balloting for the Military, Police, doctors and nurses will be held on 15th or 16th of September prior to the general public casting their votes. The PDP questions the whole intent of this exercise as it would expose these groups on their support for political parties of their choice. When questioned as to why this was so, the Supervisor of Elections advised that it was his discretion under the Decrees. He also advised that the counting of the ballots would be done on the 17th of September.
Questions arise as to the wisdom in such an exercise as none of these groups would be involved in the electoral process on the 17th September except for the police who will remain outside polling stations. We do not see the need for these groups to vote prior to the 17th September unless they would be required to be absent from their normal place of residence. While the Decree may give certain discretionary powers to the Supervisor of Elections, these powers need to be used in a responsible manner and not to expose the political leaning of any particular group or occupation. Furthermore, this is no ordinary group. It is the disciplined forces who are responsible for protecting the citizens of this country, which include each member of this group. They too have the right to be protected and free of victimization. This is supposed to be a secret ballot. We ask the Supervisor of Elections to reconsider his decision.
The Supervisor has also confirmed that voters abroad will have to make an application to vote and should they meet the requirements of the application, they will be sent a postal ballot. Voters abroad have to date not been advised of the balloting procedures. The process is cumbersome to say the least. Why is there a need to put another hurdle after these citizens have in good faith registered to vote? It is time that the Supervisor of Elections clarifies to the public the entire electoral process including all issues in which he has used his discretionary powers.