|Mere Vuniwaqa. pic FBC News|
Media reports today quoted Mere Vuniwaqa (Permanent Secretary for Justice and apparently the Acting Supervisor of Elections) under the regimes's Electoral Registration of Voters Decree (she is also the wife of the Director of Immigration, Major Nemani Vuniwaqa) as saying that 2,475 eligible voters were registered yesterday in the first day of the voter registration period as follows: Nausori 683, Levuka 176, Lautoka 236, Tavua 72, Suva Civic Centre 561, Fiji National University Samabula Campus 474 and Labasa 270.
In my view the above outcome is a very poor result, when compared to what I have calculated as needing to be achieved each day on average. I have calculated that on average they will need to register 11,500 eligible voters daily for 52 days in order to achieve their target of registering a total of 600,000 voters. My calculation is based on the assumption that registration will take place daily except Sundays over 12 hour shifts from the 3rd of July to the 31st of August 2012.
|Voter with new ID card.|
Based on the above calculations, I am estimating that a total of 48 sets of voter registration equipment are needed to successfully register 11,500 voters for each of the 52 available days in the voter registration period.
However, from the results of the first day of registration yesterday, it would appear that 3 sets are being used in Nausori: 1 in Levuka, 1 in Lautoka which is surprising because there should be more there, 1 in Taveuni, 3 or maybe 4 at the Suva Civic Centre, 2 at the FNU Campus in Samabula and 2 in Labasa.
I believe that unless more resources are put into the registration process, like more equipment, the end result will fall short of their target of 600,000 registered voters.
For each day that passes without the daily target of 11,500 registrations being achieved, the harder it gets to achieve the desired end result because the mountain is even more steeper to climb with shortfalls accumulating each day.
At yesterday's rate, registration is going at about 21%. At that rate only 128,000 voters will be registered out of 600,000 eligible voters. If that happens, the voter registration process would have been a huge failure.
The prospect of failure is due to the regime's total dependence on its new and much promoted electronic registration system. They are located in centres where access to electricity is essential. It also requires people to travel to the centres for registration on their own accord, which for those in villages and rural areas will be another challenge in terms of availability of transport and cost.
In all of Fiji's past general elections since Independence in 1970, registration had been done manually which allowed registration clerks to take forms around more or less on a door to door basis, including in the villages and rural areas.
While this may be considered inefficient by the modern-day technology-savvy people in the regime, the job was always done, netting a high proportion of eligible voters every time.
We should not discount scepticism about a process that is being led by a regime that is essentially illegal. A process that is being pushed in the absence of the following: an independent Supervisor of Elections, an Electoral Commission with also no electoral regulations but with Khaiyum acting out its role under the Electoral Registration of Voters Decree, Boundaries Commission with no constituency boundaries, and Constitution or is it being done under the 1997 Constitution?
The illegal Banimarama regime has a major challenge on its hands. Its credibility in the eyes of the world is at stake. Maybe this time, there will be irrefutable evidence that the regime lacks popular support among the Fiji public.
Editor's Note: In a story with FBC News this morning, Mere Vuniwaqa says she is the Acting Supervisor of Eections as a result of the 2012 voters decree and that an Electoral Commission is still to be appointed.