The wait continues | Audit on elections glitch ‘a black cloud’ over FEO

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Acting Supervisor of Elections Ana Mataiciwa. Picture: RUSIATE VUNIREWA/FILE

Acting Supervisor of Elections Ana Mataiciwa has labelled the infamous glitch saga as “a black cloud” that hung over the Fijian Elections Office (FEO) since 2022.

Speaking to this newspaper yesterday, Ms Mataiciwa said just like the rest of the public, they needed answers and closure on the topic.

“This black cloud has been over our head for the past year,” she said.

“After the 2022 General Election and coming to beginning of last year, we were being informed by the Office of the Solicitor-General and the Office of the Attorney-General of the intention to conduct an audit on this glitch.

“Since then, we have been doing our due diligence and we have been following up through written correspondence, meetings et cetera.

“We want closure to this glitch and so what we notice is, it’s after a year now and we are still waiting on the outcome of this glitch.”

She further added that the issue had eroded the trust of the people in FEO.

“Since last year the FEO has been working on building trust with all its stakeholders. However, with issues such as the delay in the glitch investigation, this hinders our progress in achieving our goal, which is to ensure all Fijian voters have confidence in our electoral process.

“The more we speak on glitch, the more our voters lose their trust in the FEO or the electoral system and this is something we need to deal with at the earliest.”

Ms Mataiciwa said it would be prudent to determine what, if something, had gone wrong on election night in 2022, deal with it and “close that chapter and move forward”.

“We want answers. We want to move forward.”

In 2022, the FEO app suffered a glitch which forced the suspension of the announcement of provisional results.

Then Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem had stated that attempts to restart a failed data transfer had caused the app to glitch out.

As a result, some candidates were given a disproportionate amount of votes.

Questions sent to the office of the Attorney-General on Tuesday and again yesterday remained unanswered.

However, a spokesperson said a response was being drafted.

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