Disputed 2018 election in the Freetown constituency 110 to be held in December

Amin Kef Sesay: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 22 October 2020:

Sierra Leone’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) has finally published the date for the conduct of the controversial Parliamentary re-run bye election in constituency 110 which was marred by violence. It comes over a year after the last polling results were cancelled.

According to NEC, the 12th of December 2020 has been set as polling day for that election. Other outstanding parliamentary and local council bye elections will be conducted the same day.

Nominations will take place on the 9th and 0th of November 2020 at the respective NEC district offices. Political parties have until 5th of November 2020 to submit candidates for nomination. Nomination fees for parliamentary election has been set at  Ten Million Leones and local council at One Million Leones.

Writing in a press statement issued on the 20th October 2020, the NEC says that in exercise of the powers conferred upon it by Sections 33 and 72 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991 (Act No.6 of 1991); and pursuant to Sections 2, 10, and 28 of the Paramount Chieftaincy Act, 2009 (Act No. 10 of 2009); the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) in collaboration with the National Electoral Commission (NEC) publish the dates for the conduct of Paramount Chieftaincy elections in the all affected chiefdoms.

The statement says that NEC has developed Corona Virus 2019 (COVID-19) prevention guidelines that have been approved by the National COVID-19 Response Centre (NACOVERC) for the conduct of electoral activities nationwide.

It further states was that the MLGRD and NEC have jointly revised existing guidelines for the conduct of Paramount Chieftaincy elections in line with provisions of the paramount Chieftaincy Act, 2009 (Act No.10 of 2009).

Qualifications and disqualifications of Paramount Chieftaincy elections are found in Sections 8 and 9 of the Paramount Chieftaincy Act, 2009 (Act No. 10 01 2009).

That dates for the Revision of Councillor’s List, Declaration of rights and polling for the conduct of the remaining Paramount Chieftaincy vacancies will be published in due course.

Bo, Lugbu is on the 28th Nov. 2020, Pujehun, Kpanga 25th Nov. 2020, Barri 3rd Dec.2020, Moyamba, Ribbi 18th Dec. 2020, Kambia, Munu Thalla lst Dec. 2020, Gbinle 25th Nov. 2020, Bramaia 27th Nov. 2020, Karene, Sanda Magbolontor 6th Nov. 2020, Mafonda Makerembay 9th Nov. 2020, Romende, 3rd Dec. 2020, Koinadugu, Tamiso 28th Nov. 2020, Neini 25th Nov. 2020, Falaba, Neya 27th Nov. 2020.

According to the statement, these dates are subject to the completion of the Revision of Councillor’s List and Declaration of Rights which are under the purview of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD).

In another revelation the NEC makes the following proclamation: That Saturday,12th December, 2020 has been declared as the day for the conduct of Parliamentary re-run election in Constituency 110 in the Western Area Rural District; bye elections in Constituency 078 and Ward 287 in Bo District, Ward 348 in Moyamba District and Ward 226 in Karene District.

It also stated that the Commission has developed Corona Virus 2019 (COVID-19) prevention guideline that has been approved by the National COVID-19 Response Centre (NACOVERC) for the conduct of electoral activities nationwide.

NEC said nominations of candidates for the said Parliamentary and Local Council bye election shall take place from 9th – 10th, Nov, 2020 at the respective NEC District Offices in Bo, Moyamba and Kerene Districts. Constituency 110 re-run election will not go through candidate’s nomination exercises.

It was pointed out that the deadline for Political Parties to submit the list of their endorsed candidates for the bye-elections to the National Electoral Commission (NEC) is 5th November, 2020; as per Sections 61 and 62 of the Public Elections Act, 2012 (Act No. 4 of 2012).

That in accordance with Statutory lnstrument No. 13 of 2012, the candidates, nomination fee for the said Parliamentary bye election is TEN MILLION LEONES (Le.10, 000,000.00) and Local Council bye election is ONE MILLION LEONES (1,000,000.00) per candidate, payable to the respective District Returning Officers in Bo, Moyamba and Karene Districts.

Qualifications and disqualifications for Member of Parliament are found in Sections 75 and 76 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone, 1991 (Act No. 6 of 1991) and qualifications and disqualifications of Councillors are found in Section 6 of the aforementioned Local Government Act, 2OO4; and any other relevant legislation.

NEC says that other details for the Nomination of candidates, conduct of the parliamentary re- run election and other Parliamentary and Local Council bye elections shall be published in due course.

2 Comments

  1. There is more to constituency 110 than meets the eye. Firstly it is a test of the popularity of the Bio government in greater Freetown. I think they are in for a shock if they don’t use the services of “arata “ and the likes of Lahai Leema once more. Secondly the integrity and reputation of the new electoral commissioner are at stake given what happened the last time. Thirdly President Bio’s ability to control his security forces to make them behave professionally will be in sharp focus. The last time they abused their uniform by behaving like thugs and gangsters.

    Fourthly it may reveal how the APC is viewed as the party under whose leadership for almost eleven years was an exercise in stealing trillions of our money, thereby ensnaring the nation in endless poverty. Fifthly it may show how ready voters are to break away from the two major parties to give NGC a chance. A win by NGC will send a devastating message to both APC and SLPP that their days of dominance are over.

  2. One of the best way to enhance democracy is the peaceful transition of power, through an election process in which the public participate in masses. The process should have rules, procedures, timely disputes resolution, and most importantly, the public having faith in those entrusted to conduct the election process with a view of upholding the rule of law. And if there are any electoral disputes bought before the national electoral commission and judges in the courts, the case should be looked into with urgency and speedy investigation.

    Early dispute resolution of election disputes is the main objective and guiding principles. But because our judiciary is under the thumb of president Bio, I am afraid we are going to see more of the same. Had that not been the case, the NAE and the judges would have been seen by all stakeholders as independent minded, and upholding the rule of law as they carry out their duties.

    Indeed the investigations, and resolution of a disputed elections within a reasonable time frame , is the highlight of a true functioning democracy. And it is the only way you can restore public confidence in the electoral process. In the absence of that, it creates antipathy, suspicious of those in authority, and sometimes, voters restore to violence to register their anger against, what they see, no one is listening to them. An example where rules, and procedures were not followed, was the disputed Freetown ward 110 elections in 2018. And we are yet to find out how long in the delay of the investigation, might impact voter turnout, or are we going to see a repeat of the violence. I pray not. With good local leadership, and all stakeholders, and political parties taking part in the schedule bye elections re-run of ward 110,in December, transparency and enough information, is the only guarantor to avoid the violence we witness last time.

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