Fiji’s Elections Supervisor’s role questioned

Fiji's Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem. Picture: FT FILE / JOVESA NAISUA

Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem’s role as secretary to the Electoral Commission was questioned during a consultation on proposed amendments to electoral laws conducted by the parliamentary Standing Committee on Justice, Law and Human Rights in Labasa recently.

During the forum at Wavuwavu Primary School, Vavalagi resident Mere Martin also asked the committee to explain why Mr Saneem held more than one position. In his response, committee chairman Alvick Maharaj said her concern had been raised at consultations around Viti Levu.

“We have actually been moving around Fiji and similar questions have been raised about the role of supervisor as the general secretary to the Electoral Commission,” he said.

“What has actually happened is that majority thinks he will interfere with decisions made by the Electoral Commission. For example, if there is a decision for a candidate made by the supervisor, he or she can appeal to the commission.

“And it is by law that the supervisor moves out of office as he cannot be part of the decision-making process.

“As the supervisor, he doesn’t have the power to influence our decisions but we let him know about the decisions made and he implements it.”

Mr Maharaj said it was in the best interest for the supervisor to sit as general secretary to the Electoral Commission because since taking up the post, a lot of things have been clarified and resolved.

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