Police very co-operative - CaFFE
The Campaign for Free and Fair Election (CaFFE) has been observing
and monitoring all elections in Sri Lanka since April 2008 and has
deployed its monitors at the grassroots level to monitor next month's
Parliamentary elections from the date of nomination.
According to Executive Director, CaFFE, Rajith Keerthi Tennekoon they
have deployed more than 150 election observers throughout the country
and hope to deploy more than 10,000 observers covering all the electoral
districts. "As usual we are covering all aspects of the elections in our
monitoring process and election law violations such as violence, abuse
of State property," he said.
CaFFE is working with more than 900 organizations throughout the
country to make their operations a success.
"Any incident wherever it happens gets reported to Colombo and we
will issue press releases, talk to the stakeholders such as the
Elections Commissioner, the relevant political parties, candidates and
district level election authorities and deal with the incidents on a
case by case basis," Tennekoon said.
"We do not get foreign observers as a policy because we have our own
experts who have done independent election monitoring over a long
period. We have enough resources at national level," he added.
Tennekoon said it is ground realities that matter when monitoring
elections. "Local knowledge is the most important factor when it comes
to election monitoring and we are far ahead of other organisations and
foreign observers for that matter," he said
CaFFE has over 6,500 trained monitors and they have worked with the
organisation over the past five years. "They know how to get about
monitoring work and how communication has to be done," he added.
He said their organisation is getting the usual cooperation from the
Elections Commissioner for its activities and was satisfied with the
cooperation extended not only by the Elections Commissioner but also by
the various stakeholders such as political parties.
"For the first time, the Police are very cooperative with us. This is
very encouraging compared to previous elections," he said.
"This is mainly because there is no pressure from regional level
politicians on the regional Police officers," he added.
CaFFE has observed about 21 incidents of election violence and damage
to property from the date of nominations so far.
"There was only one major incident in Nivitigala, Ratnapura where
Thushara Devalegama died. That was the main incident but there were some
other incidents such as the assault incident in Kamburupitiya and one
incident in Puttalam," he added.