Thursday, June 24, 2021

What Did The IEC Say Regarding The Roles Of Party Agents?

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

The IEC has issued the following Press Release:

INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION

Press Release

 Following the commencement of the General Registration of Voters on 29th May 2021 which shall end on 11th July 2021, the IEC wishes to inform the general public that ONLY ONE PARTY AGENT from a Political Party is invited/allowed at a registration centre at any point in time.

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Political party agents at registration centres are hereby warned to refrain from taking any voter’s card from people to write down the details of the card.

Any information needed by a party agent on a registered voter should be collected from the Team Supervisor at an appropriate time.

A party agent is to observe and note down any observation on the voter registration for submission to his/her party. 

A party agent must not interfere, disrupt and obstruct the registration process. 

S/he must not also influence, induce, entice any applicant to register or coerce, threaten, intimidate and bar applicants from registration. 

The invitation to party agent is a privilege. The IEC has the prerogative to accept any agent or send away any agent from a registration centre.

Party Agents at registration centres are hereby instructed to comply with IEC regulations, failure which, Team Supervisors will send them away from the registration centres.

It is important to note that the Elections Act does not have any provision for Party Registration Monitoring agents. The IEC has power to gazette rules governing registration wherever the Act is silent but nothing is gazetted on registration agents.

Hence the best-case scenario for monitoring the registration exercise is for the Inter-party Committee to represent all political parties by deploying its members to do so.

That was the promise but funding to effect the deployment appears to be the challenge. Will the IPC overcome the challenge? The future will tell. It would be interesting to find out whether development partners are more interested in funding monitoring exercises to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections than financing troops for peacekeeping.

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