Sierra Leone Telegraph: 3 April 2018:
Senior officials in the ministry of defence have today condemned a statement by the opposition SLPP, claiming that the army is planning to assassinate their presidential candidate – Julius Maada Bio.
The condemnation comes in a statement published by the ministry of defence, saying: “The Ministry of Defense strongly condemns and takes exception to these dangerous and misleading allegations, that have the tendency to undermine the integrity of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces and also the peace and security of Sierra Leone.”
Political tension continues to rise in Sierra Leone, as supporters and the leadership of both the ruling APC and the opposition SLPP embark on a campaign of media disinformation – each claiming victory at the presidential election runoff.
The official result of the runoff is expected later tonight or early tomorrow, should the National Electoral Commission feels satisfied that counting and the nullification of void ballots, have been fair and satisfactory.
In the meantime, there are growing concerns that the country could be plunged into chaos and anarchy, should the two parties continue to claim that their respective party has won the election, in advance of the official result being announced by NEC.
A threatening statement made on live television by Dr Samura Kamara – the ruling APC presidential candidate, saying that he will cause trouble if the voting does not go his way, is of great concern. Samura said: “Am interested in the conduct of the electoral process. If it is credible, then ar kin get sie for rest me winning. But if e nor credible..it’s doubtful, then ar go create all sorts of problems for the system, you understand what am saying?”
Watch video of Samura speaking here:
In response to these concerns, the Party Political Registration Commission has published this statement, saying that: “Pursuant to Sections 6(2) of the Political Parties Act of 2002, the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) wishes to advice the leadership of the All Peoples Congress (APC) and Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) to refrain from declaring themselves winners in the just concluded Presidential Run-off elections.
“This action in the view of the Commission is a recipe for chaos as it misleads the electorates, and it will lead to the non-acceptance of the final result that will be announced by the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
“The Commission hereby encourage the leadership, members, and supporters of the APC and the SLPP to conduct their activities in accordance with the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone, the Public Elections Act of 2012, the Political Parties Act of 2002, the Public Order Act of 1965, the Political Parties Code of Conduct and the Peace Pledge also known as the “Freetown Declaration” which the two Presidential Candidates were signatories to. (Photo: Maada Bio and Samura in a peaceful embrace at Bintumani Hotel after agreeing to accept vote counting process on Monday 1 April 2018).
“The Commission urges all Political Party members and supporters to exercise restraint during this period and wait for the official announcement of result by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) which is the institution mandated by Section 32 & 33 of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.”
Yesterday, the opposition SLPP published the following statement, which has triggered a reaction from both the military and the PPRC:
“On Saturday 31st March 2018 our nation was confronted with a democratic choice: whether we embrace change or choose the path of continuity. Our determination as a people for a NEW DIRECTION has been evident through the provisional results across the country. Collectively, we have rejected the politics of hate speech, tribalism and regionalism. We are one country, one people.
“In the face of the heightened level of intimidation and the unprecedented level of deployment of armed military and police officers on polling day, as voters, your bravery and courage have shown the world that your resolve for change is unwavering. Let us congratulate ourselves for reaffirming our commitment to the consolidation of democracy.
“However, it is now apparent that the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) after being rejected at the polls, is now very determined not only to obstruct the electoral process but most importantly to create chaos. This has been manifested in two significant ways:
“Firstly, there is now an active plan to assassinate the Presidential Candidate of the Sierra Leone People’s Party, Brigadier Julius Maada Bio. According to credible sources, the following military officers are involved in the assassination plan: Major Gen. Sullay Sesay, Brig. AY Kargbo, Brig. UP Turay, Col. RS Conteh, Brig. Abu Conteh and Col. Tee.
“This assassination plot is with the full knowledge of Gen. Taluva, Deputy Chief of Defense Staff and the Minister of Defence, Paolo Conteh. These named military officers have already been supplied with arms and ammunition including GPMGs.
“Secondly, as you would have been aware, on Sunday, 1st April 2018, the ruling All People’s Congress instructed their supporters to go to the streets in celebrating their so-called “election victory”. The provisional results are very clear that the APC has lost the elections but the move to instigate their supporters is part of a grand plan not to accept the final certified results of the presidential runoff elections from the National Electoral Commission thereby creating chaos and instability.
“Additionally, we have also recorded series of incidents from our consolidated daily situation report which we will take you through few highlights.
“Tallying of Provisional Results
“In the last elections conducted on 7th March 2018, the SLPP Tally Centre was deliberately put under siege by the armed military and police officers obstructing the tallying of results by the SLPP. The situation became worse when internet connectivity to the premises was also shut down by the Government.
“On Saturday, a similar pattern was implemented by the ruling APC Government when armed military and police officers put De Kona Lodge under virtual siege with the false claim that RRF forms and ballot boxes have been stored at the hotel. After the search nothing was found by the armed military and police officers. Again this was done by the APC to intimidate and harass SLPP supporters.
“I am pleased to inform you that the SLPP is nearing completion of its tallying of results. At this stage, I would like to share with the press and the general public status of SLPP tallying process and provisional results captured so far. As at 9 am this morning, April 2, a total of 2,149,134 valid votes counted. Out of this, Dr, Samura Kamara of the APC has 986,306 representing 45.89% and Rtd. Brig, Julius Maada Bio has 1,162,828 representing 54.11%.
“The district breakdown gives us better explanation and logic for SLPP victory. In the run-off election, the SLPP made substantial progress in Kono, Kambia, Koinadugu and Western Area. For example in Kono, SLPP increased its vote counts from 31,018 on March 7 to 78,321. In Western Area, percentage share of SLPP votes has increased from around 33% obtain in the first round to around 40%.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are confident that Rtd. Brig. Julius Bio is the next President of the Republic of Sierra Leone. We therefore call on our members to start celebrating and wish to thank all for hard work,” says the National Secretary General of the SLPP.
Sierra Leoneans are now hoping that both the ruling APC and the opposition SLPP will give space and time to the country’s elections body, to complete the counting of the votes and declare the winner. Both sides are expected to accept the result, when its announced.