Commission Asserts Role in Supervisor of Elections Appointment Process

Fiji’s Electoral Commission insists its letter to the Constitutional Offices Commission, which made it into the public domain, did not call for the dismissal of the Acting Supervisor of Elections Ana Mataiciwa.

It was a request to the EC to be consulted in the appointment of the incoming Supervisor of Elections as per one of their roles provided for in the country’s constitution, the commission outlined in a statement issued today.

It was “mischievously misinterpreted”, EC Chair Barbara Malimali said of the letter and its role, citing section 76(4) of the Constitution which requires their input in the appointment of the SOE.

Section 76(4) of the Constitution states: “The Supervisor of Elections is appointed by the President on the advice of the Constitutional Offices Commission following consultation by the Constitutional Offices Commission with the Electoral Commission.”

“The ECF is also constitutionally mandated to register citizens as voters, undertake voter education, settle electoral disputes, and monitor and enforce electoral laws. The Fijian Elections Office, of which the SOE is head, is the operational arm of the Commission and it undertakes these functions on behalf of the Commission. So the Commission is not a busy body interfering with the business of another organisation. It has oversight of the FEO just as it has a constitutional obligation to be involved in the appointment of the Supervisor.

“Being consulted is the first step to our involvement in the appointment of the next Supervisor. And that is what we have been asking the COC for the past eight months – to be consulted. Unfortunately, we have not had much success on that front.”

The issue was discussed at the recent EC meeting during which they also discussed the upcoming meeting of the COC, scheduled for April 29, and was hopeful that it would get a response to letters it had written about the recruitment of the next SOE. At the meeting the EC also voiced their disappointment with the spread of misinformation and the subsequent bullying and harassment pleading with the public to let them get “on with our job”.

“We are horrified to see the bullying and harassment that have erupted following these false allegations,” Malimali said. “I have personally faced a lot of bullying online for the past two weeks and been called all kinds of names. We ask the public to contact us if they have questions, not listen to rumours and fearmongering.”

Foodie Night 1327x198 ad(1)
Top Stories