By Lamin Cham
Pa Makan Kahn the spokesman of the IEC, has said that candidates have a right to privacy especially when it deals with their assets.
Mr Kahn was replying to queries by the media and some members of the public who went to the public scrutiny of candidates’ papers only to be told that they were not allowed to take pictures or photocopy any of the documents.
However a section of the online media lucky to have access went ahead to publish some data from mental notes during the few minutes they spent in the scrutiny room.
But the IEC spokesman said: ”One of the requirements is for aspirants to declare their assets to the IEC but not for publication. If a candidate chose to share his or her assets information to the public through the media, that is fine, but those who chose not to, have a right to privacy and theirs must not be published without their consent. In any case the law does not require the IEC to publish their assets declaration,” Mr Kahn said.
Queried about the 5–minute time given for scrutiny of the aspirants’ documents, Mr Kahn said this was decided in anticipation that many people might come and unless time is limited not all of them would be able to go in within the four hours allocated. ”Imagine if hundreds of people want to stay in the room for as long as possible, how would others have a chance? In any case, those who wish to scrutinise the papers of a given candidate can usefully spend their time by going straight to that person’s documents,” he said.
Mr Kahn said the IEC remains committed to ensuring a free, credible and fair election on 4th December.