23 November 2012

Sierra Leone: In Kenema - NEC Tally Centre Machines Faulty

Kenema — Information gathered from the regional tally centre of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) in the eastern district town of Kenema indicated that the V-SAT which was installed to transmit data on the just concluded general elections to the database at the NEC headquarters in Freetown has developed some technical problems. This, according to some NEC officials, has affected the data entry process.

It was gathered that most of the computers at the centre are displaying errors when data is being imputed but NEC officials, in an interview with Concord Times, noted that technicians are working hard to address the problem.

According to one of the observer facilitators, Alex Kemokai, ballot papers from some 322 (three hundred and twenty-two) polling stations have been imputed into the system and that the process is still ongoing despite the V-SAT coming on and off.

He said the centre is operating on a three shift bases and that they have received data from three districts namely Kenema, Kailahun and Kono but that the system is still coming on and off.

Though the V-SAT is the major link between the regional office and the NEC headquarters in Freetown, yet Kemokai said "the faulty system" has no serious impact on the data entry process.

"The computers are well programmed to ensure that no unwanted materials enter the system. We have trained people who will effectively handle the imputing, and as at now we have not recorded any major problem," he said.

However, the data entry officers had to abandon work for over three hours as a result of the malfunctioning of the V-SAT.

Meanwhile, the Chief Electoral Commissioner, Dr. Christiana Thorpe, yesterday visited Kenema to interact with officials at the centre.

Moreover, the Regional Crime Officer of the Kenema police division, James Kargbo, has informed Concord Times that no major incident has been reported since voting ended on Saturday though they had received complaints of intimidation from political opponents.

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