Vol. 5 Num 571 Tue. January 03, 2006  

New voter list preparation
Unilateral approach by CEC was Entirely avoidable
Let us start with a simple question: How important is it to have a voter list that is both accurate and above controversy? We feel that few would argue with the contention that a full and complete voter list is the foundation, one might go so far as to say the sine qua non, for a free and fair election.

This being the case, we are at a loss to understand why the CEC seems determined to go ahead unilaterally with the framing of a new voter list for the upcoming general elections when the current process has become so riddled with confusion and controversy.

The year has begun with workers going door to door to gather information to compile the new voter list, and the CEC has given every indication that he intends to go ahead with the process, whether his fellow members of the EC, or anyone else, like it or not. This one-man show grandstanding in preference to working as a commission is the height of folly and the potential adverse consequence for the nation is immense.

Making matters worse, the CEC has not even deigned to offer any reason as to why he has chosen to act unilaterally, summarily overruling the two other members of the EC, and moving ahead with the process in the teeth of public opinion.

This is surely nothing that good old-fashioned negotiation, discussion, and compromise cannot solve. It seems to us that the path of confrontation and unilateralism chosen by the CEC was one that could have been avoided quite easily, thus averting the potential damaging consequences of his decision.

This is not the first time a voter roll is being drawn up, but never before has the process been subject to so much controversy from the very beginning. The political reality in the country is that relations between the government and the opposition are at their lowest ebb, and that at this time we need to be thinking of ways to find common ground not to create more tension. The CEC's decision will only add fuel to the fire, and make free, fair, and authentic elections that much harder to achieve.

Given all that is at stake here, we find the CEC's obstinacy and intransigence utterly mystifying. The voter roll preparation needs not only to be above question, it must also be seen by the people to be above reproach. By proceeding in the way he is, the CEC risks placing the entire election into jeopardy.