Fataleka chief insists voter screening is necessary

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By Mike Puia

A chief from Fataleka Constituency in Malaita province insists that screening or blocking people who register at their constituency’s registration booth at Town Ground is necessary.

Chief Jeffery Simiga was reacting to reports of voters being screened by a group of people from the constituency on arrival at the constituency’s registration booth for registration.

Currently, voters throughout the country are going to registration centres and booths to have their names registered to vote during the upcoming national general elections.

The group of frustrated Fataleka electors staged the screening in protest targeting their current Member of Parliament.

The action was taken by the people with the hope only the indigenous people of Fataleka constituency are registered.

Charles Uimauri, a chief from the constituency who led the move, explained the protest is a response to the cross border voting practice their current MP allegedly capitalised on in the last three elections.

Chief Simiga welcomes the move, saying their constituency does not believe a “verifiable list” will come out after the objection period.

He said screening those who show up and register in their constituency will ensure only those from the constituency or are connected to the constituency through blood and marriage registered.

Simiga said it will be difficult to verify people who register during the objection period therefore the screening their people carried out at their registration booth at Town Ground is necessary.

He said this will help ease the work of the Solomon Islands Electoral Commission (SIEC) in its attempt to verify and produce a credible voters list to be used in the elections.

Simiga said anyone who is not from Fataleka constituency should not waste his or her time registering in their constituency.

“Anyone who has no connection to our constituency should not waste his or her time registering in our constituency. We will look out for you. You will be turned away at the polling station. You will be shamed,” Simiga said.

He said they want their own people to choose their own national leader as their people suffered from the action of people from other constituency who enter and vote in their constituency.

Chief Simiga appealed to the SIEC for understanding.

“To the SIEC, please don’t take us wrong. We just had enough of different who people depriving our indigenous people’s right to choose a leader to serve our interest,” Chief Simiga said.

He added once people who do the screening don’t incite violence he sees no reason why this practice is bad.

SIEC, in a notice, called for the group to evacuate the venue.

The Commission said frustrated electors should wait for the right time allowed under the law where names can be objected and omitted if proven in public hearings.

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