Friday, February 02, 2007

Sierra Leone bans poll officials

Freetown - About 1 000 polling officials involved in Sierra Leone's 2004 disputed local government vote have been banned from taking part in any other elections over alleged fraud, said the government on Thursday.

The government gazette, a weekly official publication, listed more than 1 000 presiding officers as "disqualified from taking part in any future electoral activities" to be conducted by the country's national electoral commission.

In a statement carried by the gazette months before the country's general elections, the electoral commission expressed its desire to set up "an independent and credible" institution to promote "democracy and good governance".

The election body said it wants to "continually administer free and fair elections and is determined to instil public trust and confidence in all the electoral process".

Most of those banned supervised the local government elections in parts of the country where poll results were "disputed over excess balloting and underage voting", said NEC.

Sierra Leone is due in July to hold presidential and legislative polls expected to serve as a crucial test of its democratic credentials and establish whether the country is on the road to full recovery after a 10-year brutal civil war.

Link to S Leone bans poll officials: Africa: News: News24