Sierra Leone Telegraph: 28 March 2018:
Yesterday, the National Election Watch (NEW) published a statement, accusing the presidential candidate for the SLPP party – Julius Maada Bio, of making “inflammatory statements” on national media.
NEW said: “Our attention has been drawn to recent statements made by the presidential candidate of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), Rtd. Brig. Julius Maada Bio, whilst responding to the party’s position relating to the recent interim injunction. This was also followed by the statement made by the National Publicity Secretary of the SLPP, Lahai Lawrence Leema on the AYV on Sunday TV program, insinuating the possibility of a coup d’état in the event that the Run-off election did not take place on 27th March 2018.”
In their statement, NEW urges “all political party leaders to respect the ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance as stated in section 1: article 1 (b) Every ascension to power must be made through free, fair and transparent elections; and (c) Zero tolerance for power obtained or maintained by unconstitutional means.”
“As we move to another critical stage of the electoral process; the Presidential Run- off, NEW reminds all and sundry that though there are issues to address in view of the conduct of the Presidential Run-off, it is incumbent that all stakeholders restraint themselves and dialogue their way to a successful conclusion of the electoral process,” NEW warns political parties.
Responding to NEW’s statement, the SLPP Media, Information and Communications Committee is today accusing NEW of making baseless accusations and finger pointing at the SLPP, in an attempt to tarnish the reputation of their presidential candidate. This is SLPP’s published statement:
“Our attention has been drawn to a Press Statement issued by the National Election Watch dated 27th March 2018 titled “NEW condemns inflammatory statements from political leaders” in which NEW described as “inflammatory” statements made by the Presidential Candidate of the Sierra Leone People’s Party while responding to the Party’s position on the recent interim injunction.
“It is regrettable that NEW was not in attendance at the Press Conference nor the Meeting with elections observers convened at the Radisson Blu on Sunday 26th March 2018. Clearly, from the NEW statement they failed to specifically mention which aspect of the “recent statements” was inflammatory.
“Such a blanket description by NEW without any specificity is a misrepresentation and has the potential to undermine its impartiality as elections observers.
“It is unacceptable that NEW has made public allegation of ‘inflammatory statements’ by the SLPP Presidential Candidate Brigadier (Rtd.) Julius Maada Bio without evidence and facts to substantiate this allegation in their statement.
“We view this as an attempt by NEW to tarnish the reputation of the SLPP Presidential Candidate, Brig (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio in the run-up to the Presidential Run-Off scheduled for Saturday, 31st March 2018.
“The Press Statement delivered by Brigadier (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio and his subsequent responses to questions from members of the press on Sunday 25th March were robust, strong and reflected the views of many Sierra Leoneans.
“Throughout the electoral process, Brigadier (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio has won the admiration of both local and international observers, members of the diplomatic community and the general public for showing restraint in the face of provocations and attacks.
“Furthermore, he has been commended by all for his statesmanship and the responsible manner he has conducted himself to safeguard our nation’s peace and democracy.
“We wish to reiterate that where there are emerging issues that threaten to undermine the electoral process and democratic consolidation, Brigadier (Rtd) Julius Maada Bio will respond robustly and strongly. We condemn all forms of inflammatory statements, but we will also robustly protect our democracy.”
The runoff election between the ruling APC and the SLPP will take place on Saturday, 31 March 2018, after a High Court Judge postponed the election that was scheduled for yesterday – Tuesday, 27 March, due to allegations of serious electoral fraud and malpractice.
There are calls for the National Electoral Commission to ensure that Saturday’s runoff election is credible and held in accordance with the Public Elections Act of 2012. This is what the Awareness Times says in its editorial today:
“NEC is not above the Constitution. Sections 32 and 33 of Sierra Leone Constitution creates the National Electoral Commission (NEC) which is responsible for all public elections in Sierra Leone.
“Section 44 of the Constitution says Parliament shall make laws for the purpose of regulating the election of the President and other matters connected therewith. The current law made by Parliament for electing a President is the Public Elections Act of 2012.
“NEC is therefore constitutionally bound to follow the dictates of that Public Elections Act when conducting elections for President.
“The Public Elections Act in Sections 91(3) and 94(2), states unequivocally that tallying of elections results should commence AT THE OFFICE of the District Returning Officer and then those district results are certified again AT THE OFFICE of the District Returning Officer. The geographical location of where tallying & certification of polling station results should commence, is very clear.
“Any attempt by NEC to commence tallying in regional offices will be in breach of the Public Elections Act and by extension, Section 44 of the Constitution.
“Many citizens now know why and how the First Rounds of March 7th 2018 turned out to be what they turned out to be. Sierra Leone deserves better, so this newspaper is hopeful that NEC will henceforth do what the Constitution dictates and which is what the High Court’s Hon. Justice Mansaray has ordered should be followed as per law established.
“That means, NEC should tally polling station results at NEC district offices and not at their regional offices! After all, NEC is not above the Constitution.”
Many in Sierra Leone are calling for the replacement of the NEC Chairman and Commissioner – Mohamed Nfa Alie Conteh, after failing to ensure that the first round elections are fair and credible. All eyes are now on NEC and its conduct of the runoff election on Saturday, 31 March. Will it regain its lost credibility, or make itself unfit for purpose?
NEC should be careful for this 2018 election. As they can see, in Liberia’s election there was no violence. It was free and fair election. Am brother Osman Kamara from Liberia. A Sierra Leonean national.
It is crystal clear that the APC party have lost the support of majority of the people in Sierra Leone. The first round of the election was won by Maada Bio and the SLPP and had it not been for the ungodly manipulations by certain individuals in the NEC to up the numbers for the incumbent APC he would have been sworn in as the new Head of State of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
I personally believe that Maada Bio, and the SLPP party have exercised enough patience and civility. In fact, in the face of all these APC shenanigans, some of us were beginning to wonder when he would bar his teeth and start to call for action. But his respect for the rule of law and his abiding faith in keeping the peace have always been at the forefront of every decision he and the SLPP party has made.
To hear people criticize him for saying he would prevail on his supporters to fight for democracy in the event their will is subverted, is not only deceitful but I consider it political calumny intended to degrade his character and make him look like he is inciting and encouraging violence by his supporters.
Those who were following the 2007 Presidential election will attest to the fact that Ernest Bai Koroma publicly made several unsavory comments and threats to make our country ungovernable if his APC party is not declared the winner of the presidential election. These comments were made repeatedly, even before the elections were to take place and consequently after the elections.
And in spite of the many anomalies that underscored the election result, President Kabba and the SLPP conceded defeat for the sake of probity and keeping the peace. The same restraint and consideration for our security and the wellbeing of our people was shown, again, by the SLPP in 2012, when in the face of overwhelming evidence of rigging, the APC was declared the winner.
However, this time the tide has changed. The majority of the people in Sierra Leone have had ten years to absorb the many lies, deceit and dishonesty of Ernest Bai Koroma and his APC party. And they are determined that their voices would not be ignored. There is absolutely nothing to convince any sane Sierra Leonean that having been hand in glove with Ernest Bai Koroma in wrecking our economy and subjecting our people to the most inhumane living conditions, Samura Kamara would be the answer to lifting our country out of the shithole and enormous financial burden we currently face.
It sounds to me like the police officer telling the drunk driver that it is ok to continue to drive home the remaining passengers in his car, following a crash that just killed of a few of his passengers. If that drunk driver is to go behind the wheel, would you ride with him?
President Koroma is like the police officer in this story. He is responsible for looking after the wellbeing of his people but he has failed to uphold and perform his fiduciary duties to the satisfaction of the nation. Now, he is asking us to trust his hand –picked driver, the architect of his failed Agendas.
This is the choice we all have to make in this run off.
VOTE for Maada Bio and the SLPP party, if you want a better Salone!
We must await of all types of tanishing of the SLPP presidential candidate. This is because he headed a military junta, but democratically he gave power to the civilian and democratically elected president.
Why are all these things happening now? I am sure it is the APC political party that is bringing in everything to downgrade other political parties. This is not how politics functions.
I am sure Sierra Leoneans are now quite sure who to elect to be the president of the country. No matter whatever happens, the voters are behind their chosen candidate. They can never abandon him or her. ONE COUNTRY ONE PEOPLE.
I personally believe one thing is crystal clear about Retired Brigadier Maada Bio. He is a real patriot who has only the best interest of the nation at heart when he introduced democracy to our country. After losing the presidential elections in 2012 – thanks to the help of Christiana Thorpe who turned her back on Jesus Christ by denouncing her catholic motherhood to the pope and decided to worship president Ernest Koroma whom she imposed on us, but Mr Bio chose to give president Koroma his personal space to govern by departing from Sierra Leone to build himself for this moment. Most people even refer to him as ” MUMU” or dumb .
In Sierra Leone we have a say that “NA TIN KIN MAKE MUMU TOK” because there is a limit to how much the president and his APC party can push or manipulate our people. And in this case, after the unconstitutional sacking of elected Vice President which was also endorsed by the judiciary, this time around Retired Brigadier Maada Bio has to clearly DRAW A LINE ON THE SAND by making this firm statement.
Thanks to the Almighty, the Supreme Court got the message and they had no choice but to give the people their right to vote rather than giving president Ernest Koroma four months extension to beg the nation for the Ebola, Hajj and mudslide money that he stole from us.
My advice to NEW is that our country is rated as the poorest nation on earth because of the LACK OF TRUTH and that is the only thing that will set us free from the hands of president Koroma and the APC party- and the “END ALWAYS JUSTIFIES THE MEANS”.