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Unethical: Saneem Labels Rabuka Claims

The Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem says it is unethical to make public statements without first seeking clarifications with the Fijian Elections Office. Mr Saneem was responding to claims made
22 Sep 2018 11:31
Unethical: Saneem Labels Rabuka Claims
Supervisor of Election Mohammed Saneem on September 21, 2018. Photo: Ronald Kumar

The Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem says it is unethical to make public statements without first seeking clarifications with the Fijian Elections Office.

Mr Saneem was responding to claims made by SODELPA and its party leader Sitiveni Rabuka.

“Rather than following the norm, which is to approach the FEO direct through correspond­ence this political party and its leader have begun a series of public attacks on the National Register of voters as well as the FEO directly,” Mr Saneem said.

This is in regard to SODELPA’s posts on social media page and on September 15th.

“This political party continues to disregard the FEO’s calls to seek clarifications through for­mal means so that it can clarify whatever the party has que­ried,” Mr Saneem said

“Rather than allowing it to be repeatedly published with vari­ous wild misconstrued and thor­oughly misinformed statements in the media and social media.

“The whole country is a single constituency and the FEO does not reflect its areas based on pro­vincial boundaries.

“We have transited from a pro­vincial boundary-based deline­ation system called constituen­cies into a single constituency.

Mr Saneem said the FEO had carefully and fairly distributed the entire country into 25 admin­istration areas.

“These areas will be looked after by 23 administrative staff called area officers,” he said.

“We are not required to dis­tribute to the whole country along provincial district lines or towns.

“Any attempt to join voter lists to form constituencies through provincial lines is incorrect and misleading.

“The FEO has given all politi­cal parties the entire country’s administrative area maps of polling venues back in January 2018.”

However, the FEO noted that political parties did not know about this.

“This was dated December 31st, 2017 and the FEO published pro­visional voters roll five times this year. Today we have released the sixth.”

The roll is provisional and po­litical parties and individuals can check it, seek clarifications and appropriate amendments prior to this roll being finalised following the issue of the writ.

“The FEO is the custodian of the voter roll, but political par­ties, stakeholders and voters play an equal role to ensure that their details are correct at any given time,” Mr Saneem said.

“Voters can amend their details prior to the writ being issued and if a party has any issue with the roll they have two options.

“They can approach voters and they can amend their details. Number two the party can file its own objections on voters list for the FEO to consider. And if proven, amend.”

Political parties and individu­als must approach the FEO for errors or if they believed there is an error.

“It is unethical to make a public shabang about it,” he said.

It is inaccurate for SODELPA to say that allocation of the polling stations from Tailevu and Ra are registered to Kadavu or the East­ern Division.

In Fiji every voter carries a vot­er card. The voter is able to send their voter card number to 1500 for free and directly verify their polling venue.

For a party to come up with a generalised assessment suggest­ing that x number of voters are in the wrong venue means the party is going against the wish of voters.

Polling venue verifications is done for villages through the Turaga ni Koro and for other settlements through advisory counselors.

This exercise has been done at least twice this year.

“Sadly, I can see desperate at­tempts, dubious and irresponsi­ble statements about the Fijian Elections voter list,” Mr Saneem said.

“I invite SODELPA to write to us, we will respond and you will then be able to verify the extent to it if your verifications were correct or incorrect.”

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: sheenam.chandra@fijisun.com.fj

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