Anomalies or manufactured allegations?
The regime's Registrar of Elections, Mohammed Saneem, reckons officials of the proposed Social Democratic Liberal Party and the proposed National Federation Party have both accepted what he says are anomalies in their handling of the registration process.
In the case of the proposed SODELPA, the party is accused of including members who are registered twice or even three times, members who are also listed as belonging to other proposed parties and names that do not exist on the National Register of Voters.
According to Saneem: “These anomalies have been acknowledged by officials of the proposed party after they were granted access to the National Register of Voters."
He also insists NFP officials acknowledged that some of its registered members belong to other proposed political groups.
“While they’ve denied allegations of impersonating Government officials in Kadavu, they accept that 25 listed members have also registered either as members of the proposed SODELPA or the proposed FLP."
On the subject of the Fiji Labour Party, Saneem says he has allowed it an extra week to respond to allegations its workers impersonated Government officials in Ba.
He says the party has asked for more time to verify the allegations itself and the deadline will now be Friday April the 26th instead of the 19th.
See NFP's reply below:
19th April, 2013
On 12 April the Registrar of Political Parties made certain allegations of irregularities in NFP’s registration application.
In a bizarre action the Registrar had made these allegations in the newmedia through the Ministry of Information even before it was received by the Party.
He further claimed that in doing so he was giving us “natural justice”. In the circumstances and in the interests of balance and fairness we are compelled to similarly make our response public.
In his letter the Registrar repeated the allegation which earlier originated from the Prime Minister’s office through one Mr Epeli Vuase who we understand is a military officer working as a Public Relations officer in the PM’s office.
The allegation was that our agent in Kadavu had obtained seven signatures in support for NFP by telling the people that he was doing a “government” exercise. This was strongly denied then by the Party as well as our agent who had successfully obtained 199 support signatures in Kadavu voluntarily given by the people and not one of whom has complained.
In addition like all our other agents he carried an official Party identification letter and the signatures were made on a form that boldly identified it as a NFP form.
In support of the allegation the Registrar quoted a telephone conversation he purportedly had with one person in Kadavu who claimed to be representing four others and wished to withdraw his signature.
Neither Mr Vuase nor the Registrar has provided any direct evidence of the allegation from any one and NFP has rejected the allegation.
The Registrar had also made an allegation of around 25 double registrations appearing among the close to 8000 names that we submitted. NFP has accepted that these were genuine errors by our agents and involved mostly a mismatch of names and EVR numbers of a few persons mostly within the same household.
We have rectified these errors.
The third allegation involved the names of around 60 persons who had signed their support for NFP and then also signed for FLP and SODELPA. The NFP takes no responsibility for the actions of these people. We have removed their names from our register and have requested the Registrar to prosecute them for offences they have committed under Section 15 of the political parties registration decree.
The Registrar also sent us a long list of names alleging a range of irregularities including that these names were on NFP lists but were not in the EVR database.
However none of those names appear on our lists or even in the lists published by the Registrar. NFP has rejected the allegations as false and has asked the Registrar to withdraw them.
NFP is concerned that such false allegations are being generated obviously designed to refuse the party’s registration.
We have provided full and frank responses and now expect that our registration will be confirmed without further delay.
Raman Pratap Singh