As the Supreme Court reviews the arguments presented by both sides — the National Elections Commission (NEC) and the Unity Party (UP) — following its hearings into the Bill of Information filed by the UP, it appears highly unlikely that the mandate given by the Supreme Court to have NEC clean up the Final Registration Roll(FRR) and publish same at all Election Magisterial offices and polling places around the country will be accomplished before the new December 26 runoff date announced by NEC.
A major question expected to be addressed is whether the runoff will be allowed to proceed absent any evidence of full implementation of the Supreme Court’s mandate calling for the clean-up of the FRR, to ensure that multiple names of identification numbers are removed, its publication at all polling centers and Magisterial offices and its vetting by the public before December 26.
In its argument before the Supreme Court yesterday the National Elections Commission (NEC) claimed that the clean-up of the FRR had attained an 85 percent completion rate which, by its own estimation, would be completed 100 percent before the runoff with a mere 7 days remaining to its unilaterally declared date of December 26.
Speaking to the Daily Observer after the Supreme Court hearings yesterday, an official of the Unity Party questioned the veracity of averments made by NEC to the effect that the clean-up of the FRR had already achieved 85 percent completion up to the date of the hearings yesterday, noting that given the enormity of the task at hand measured against time constraints, it appears unlikely that the date (December 26) would hold.
Mr. Cole Bangalu stated that in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, a meeting called by NEC to address this very issue ended inconclusively as a result of NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya’s blatant refusal to produce the FRR, which he insisted had been cleaned and stood in no further need of any clean-up.
Mr. Bangalu further stated that it was only late yesterday that the UP received a letter from NEC inviting its representatives to a meeting today to discuss proposed steps to be taken as well as the methodology to be employed in the clean-up exercise. Up to this point, it still remains unclear whether the Supreme Court in its ruling will consider the issue of Korkoya’s recusal as requested by the UP.
Yesterday’s hearings were intended to look into the Unity Party (UP) complaint asking the Court to stop the electoral body from proceeding with the runoff, if it does not fully comply with the mandates, including the cleaning of the voter’s roll, which the UP claimed was fraught with irregularities.