ECSL and political rhetoric causing impasse and unpredictability in Sierra Leone – Op ed

Sylvanus Koroma: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 July 2023:

When the Chairman of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) Dr Prince Harding publicly referred to the International Community Observers and Monitors of the June 24, 2023 elections as ‘academic dwarfs’, I honestly think that is the mentality of the SLPP. The SLPP see themselves as intellectual, academic and political giants, and regard their opponents as either intellectual, academic or political dwarfs.

The SLPP Chairman is on record saying that they (SLPP) will never hand over power to the APC ever again. The SLPP Chairman said these unfortunate words in the presence of his Party Leader, Mr. Julius Maada Bio, who sat there smiling at the unfortunate, derogatory and hate speech message, wherein Dr Prince Harding boastfully reported to Mr. Julius Maada Bio what he as the SLPP Chairman just told the EU Chief Observer, ‘Do you think we are going to hand over power to these mad men? I said we’ll never hand over power to APC again, not in this country.’

With such statements coming out of the mouth of the SLPP hierarchy and its membership applauding to such hate and derogatory rhetoric, then I can authoritatively say that the SLPP leadership lacks the moral gravitas to condemn hate and derogatory speeches going forward.

Again, the current Leader of the SLPP Mr. Julius Maada Bio is also on record on national television to have said ahead of the 2018 elections, five years ago: “For the sake of peace if they have a rigged election I will not accept it, and for the same sake of peace, because rigged elections lead to war.” The Leader of the SLPP Mr. Julius Maada Bio on the same programme said that he was not going to tell anybody to go out in the streets, but he has the right to protect their votes.

Mr. Julius Maada Bio said: “We will resist anything that is invalid, we will resist any attempt by NEC to lead a process that is not going to be clean. I will tell you for sure that we are going to remain as peaceful as we can, we are going to take part in the process. We will just not accept a rigged election.’’

There, was Mr. Julius Maada Bio on record agitating for transparency, saying that he will not settle for anything less. But the question that Mr. Bio needs to answer in relation to the current situation in the country is, does Mr. Julius Maada Bio of SLPP in anyway think that what is good for him and his SLPP party in an election, should also be good for any other Sierra Leonean – including Dr Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara of the All Peoples Congress (APC)?

Or has Mr. Julius Maada Bio already endorsed his Party Chairman’s derogatory statement that the APC are mad people, and that the APC is unfit to resist elections that are not transparent?  Or is Mr. Julius Maada Bio of the same notion that the APC are intellectual/academic dwarfs, and that the APC is incompetent to see through the SLPP’s game plan in attempting to stage a coup against our democracy?

Mr. Julius Maada Bio, I am specifically addressing the SLPP Leader thus, as I share his view on elections that are not transparent should be resisted! And as at today, it has taken over two weeks the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) has failed to provide the people of Sierra Leone transparent results.

The ECSL has laws and policies that guide the electoral process, and that process must be fully exhibited. Anything falling outside those provisions will not be accepted. Mr. Julius Maada Bio knows that Sierra Leoneans can be peaceful, and he equally must know that Sierra Leoneans can resist abuses. And I want to believe that it is against this backdrop that he stoutly spoke about resistance to electoral rigging.

Sierra Leoneans need to know this, as it is the very reason we are expressing the impasse after the elections. Interestingly, Mr. Julius Maada Bio and the SLPP made heavy weather about the announcement of an early elections date a year ahead of elections, but he failed to explain to the nation about the possibility of having an interim presidency leading to a runoff election due to the said date.

The Chief Electoral Commissioner Mohamed Konneh and Mr. Julius Maada Bio as President of the Republic of Sierra Leone announced the 24th  June 2023 elections date. This announcement left the presidency with only 10 days period during which the Presidential elections shall take place including runoff election. Meaning as of 5th July 2023, the President ceases to be the President he took oath of office for on 4th April 2018. This is pursuant to Section 43 paragraphs (a & b) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra Leone.

The aforesaid section provides that at ‘the effluxion of time’ for the presidency (i.e., 5 years from the time the President was declared President by the Returning Officer). Legally, the President ceases to be President if the election had not taken place after the beginning of the period of four months ending with the date when the President’s term of office would expire by effluxion of time, during the first three months of that period. In other words, election for the office of the President must be held during the period of three months beginning with the date when the office of the President becomes vacant.

Thus, as per the 2018 elections which ushered President Bio as President of the Republic on 4th April 2018, his effluxion of the presidency was 4th April 2023. Therefore, the elections for the vacant presidency were to have been concluded not later than 4th July 2023. Failing to have concluded that election with the said timeframe would have led to an interim presidency whereby the Chief Justice would have possibly held the position as the Interim President of the Republic during the runoff period starting on 5th July, 2023, until the Returning Officer announce the newly elected President.

I guess this was the reason why Keketoma was all over the place talking that a delay of the elections will lead to CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS. There would have been no crisis. In fact, during the transition period from British rule (under the Monarchy) to a Republic, Sierra Leone’s first President was the then Chief Justice C O E Cole.

There is currently an issue of acceptability of the challenged ECSL announced elections results. The APC has made its position known that the ECSL has not been transparent in the conduct of the elections. And two weeks down the line after the June 24, 2023 elections, ECSL has not been able to publicly display the elections results so that the results can be verified and ascertained by the Political Parties with their Results Reconciliation Forms (RRF).

I believe one thing that should be top in the minds of Mr. Julius Maada Bio and the SLPP is the application of Section 48 subsection (4) of the 1991 Constitution. The said section provides for the immunity of the President, but can the same cater for a person that illegally occupies the seat?

I am particularly concerned because I have seen Mr. Julius Maada Bio making strong statement that he will resist any elections that are rigged, or that he will resist any attempt by Electoral Commission to lead a process that is not clean. In other words, acceptability of results can only be accepted if the elections are transparent.

With all honesty, ECSL has so far acted and performed below standards in the conduct of the June 24 elections and has not been transparent so far in producing results. How can it announce results without being able to give a breakdown of the results announced for well over two weeks now?

ECSL had said that no polling station will have more than 300 voters. But ECSL figures compiled after the elections show the average number of people who voted at polling stations far exceeded the stipulated 300. This is just one example of ECSL’s dishonesty.

How can ECSL be trusted with their declaration of Mr Bio as president, after such massive over-voting and lack of transparency?

Please see attached ECSL document showing the number of voters per polling stations across the country: 

Voter Count By Polling Centre


  1. Dauda Yillah, brilliant observation; it’s the same capacity and ability that you used to dispatch a fellow from Bo about a year or so ago, who got on the platform to teach the rest of us how to construct sentences. You submerged him so fast that he hasn’t surfaced since.
    On Mrs Tunkara, I wouldn’t bet against your hunch, the probability of losing is too high – almost one. On the suggested protest, I must admit that some anger overcame me. Bio is calculating, callous and sadistic killer. But there will come a time when all the blood h?e has spilled unjustifiably will scream at him. Contemporary history can attest to this.

  2. Mr Santhkie Sorie, Miss Diana Tunkara’s eloquence and poetic mode of communication remind me of our brother Star Gazer alias the Great Sayedna, who left the forum many months ago. How intriguing! Whoever Miss Diana Tunkara is, she is very much welcome, as her presence on the forum adds a decidedly rich and spicy flavour to the discussions, a flavour that is very much in keeping with what Star Gazer used to offer. But perhaps it is Star Gazer after all, under a different guise, ever evolving pseudonymously but ever consistent nonetheless in terms of his verbal skills, his imaginativeness and quality of thought.

    I must say however that I am not sure the right course of action is for Samura Kamara and his APC party to up the political ante and take to the streets to register more directly and robustly and yet no less peaceably their categorical rejection of the disputed election results. This is because we are dealing here with a ruthless dictatorial regime whose democidal instinct speaks for itself; a regime to whom spilling the blood of their Sierra Leonean brothers and sisters comes most naturally. The terrible event of 10th August 2022 is a heart-rending case in point.

    Secondly, will Samura Kamara and APC-led protests, demonstrations, strikes and boycotts galvanize the nation as a whole, with Sierra Leoneans coming out in their millions and across regions and ethnicities to force Bio and his illegitimate regime to see sense, back down and accept the settled will of voters? Are we not as a nation split right down the middle party-politically and indeed ethno-regionally? Will a Bio and his Paopa regime-led democide of APC party supporters not inevitably result in total anarchy: a second internecine war that will make Foday Sankoh and his RUF-led decade-long insurgency pale into insignificance?

    As you rightly point out, such a national catastrophe if it were to happen would spell the end of Bio and his regime. But he would certainly be going down with tens of thousands of innocent Sierra Leonean souls: it would be an indescribable carnage pitting South-Easterners against Northerners and North-Westerners and their respective diasporic elements living in Freetown and the wider Western region.

    Perhaps one way out of the current political impasse is the constitution of a transitional government of national unity, whose members would be drawn from all existing parties prior to the 24th June elections. Such a government in collaboration with the international community including the UN, ECOWAS and the EU would then set about within a specified time frame holding genuinely free, fair and transparent elections. To my mind, an impasse calls for dialogue, compromise, the finding of overlaps or common ground. In other words, a flexible and adaptable approach to our current political disagreements may be the way forward. Approaching these disagreements as a zero-sum game would be a clear path to doom.

    • Thanks for the kind compliments Mr Dauda Yillah…but who is the Great Sayedna…or Stargazer? I have never heard of him, but my husband Dr. Sorie Tunkara that sometimes participates and always reads the articles on this noble platform…has now confirmed to me that he knew him very well, and he was a very funny and brilliant individual; Anyway…HERE’S MY TAKE ON THIS…Words of eloquence do not belong to anyone… Great minds always think alike, I may sound like someone or they may sound like me; As an other of two books I am so proud to hear that there is another Sierra Leonean that graciously compares to me. Thank you.

    • “StarGazer” alias the “Great Sayedna” has been banned from using this platform, and if he attempts to come back using other monikers, he will immediately be thrown out. The last time he was banned, he sent very abusive messages to the editor which are currently in the hands of lawyers. We are watching and reviewing.

  3. Mrs Tunkara, APC have become spineless. They remind me of the horse Boxer in George Orwell’s Animal Farm who became so feeble that when he was being taken to the knacker’s he didn’t have the strength to put up a fight. Yet at some point he was the strongest inhabitant on the farm after the overthrow of Mr Jones.

    APC have to borrow a page from the Kenyan politician Reila Odinga who is forever resisting the Kenyan government through huge protests and other means. Since Bio is portraying himself as stubborn APC must reciprocate. Samura Kamara should start by calling for a nationwide peaceful protest to demand the release of the real results of the elections. I am ready to bet my life (literally) that tens of thousands of people will come out. On that day Bio should be made to further bloody his hands junder the nose and eyes of the world; it will be the beginning of his complete demise.

    Depending entirely on the international community to sort out our mess epitomises defeatism. We cannot rest our problems in the Hands of the Almighty either, we should start with some basic solutions, and then ask for Devine Help when we are at our wits end. We should stop behaving like the student who dances the night away and expect Allah/God to help him pass his exams in the morning.

    I am not SLPP or APC, I just want us as a people/voters to stop the rot in which we are snared by the two major parties. If we all come out against SLPP this time the lesson will be learned. Next time, whoever the electoral commissioner is, she/he will endeavour to do a professional job.

    • Many thanks for such a candid, thoughtful response Mr. Santhkie Sorie…only men and women with deepest insight on matters related to African politics can utter such a bold statement as yours; First things first, it was Ernest Koroma that dragged the current dysfunctional APC to the slaughter house like a sheep bound by all its four fragile legs when he handpicked Samura Kamara as his successor; Politics is cutthroat business, that is played everywhere in a volatile war zone with merciless monsters and not in a secured kindergarten playground for adorable little kids; Samura Kamara is a good man, diligent and compassionate, but someone that is too timid and afraid to wrestle, wallow in the mud and throw blows with the likes of the “mutinous” Maada Bio; And the President of Sierra Leone clearly understands that.

      Yes, Samura Kamara has been weighed and measured on the political scales of leadership and was found to be wanting; Maada Bio and his cronies already know that he is as soft as a pancake, a man that can be bullied into submission, when the stakes are at their highest; True, when push comes to shove he will always crumble like a deck of cards under political pressure…And they were right; I totally agree with your assertions of Raila Odinga, a man that understands what to do when the risks staring him in the face are great; Raila is always faced with danger, yet he does not relent, lament and retreat on his quest for fairness and life saving, genuine sustainable change for his impoverished people.

      I just wish Samura would come out of his “COZY” shell, and stick his neck out in the interests of Sierra Leone; My husband, friends and associates are all watching patiently and waiting to see whether Samura Kamara and Ernest Koroma will just roll over and let Maada Bio and his henchmen get away on this treasonous issue of critical importance…then we would organize ourselves and devise coherent strategies to get both of them to retire quietly and relinquish their authority over the All People’s Congress…that is our mission…a day that will surely come if they don’t start to act decisively and accordingly; And lord knows that of reckoning is not too far away.

  4. Indeed! Times and seasons come and go; Men with purposeless voices not even worth listening to are now boldly calling the shots in Sierra Leone, whilst the APC stands aloof, on the sidelines watching like timid sheep gazing and grazing in the meadows; Folks, the APC was robbed in broad daylight…and there is nothing they have been able to do about it, but whine and complain; My Goodness! The APC that was once a formidable, mythical creature that could easily transform itself into a menacing wolf or an indomitable lion at will…a legendary political entity that could seize the most ferocious prey, is now on her knees humiliated and totally subdued, frustrated and languishing in utter agony and despair? Folks, the time has now come for self assessment…if the lackadaisical APC under the leadership of Samura Kamara, and Ernest Koroma make the grievous mistake, of allowing Maada Bio to get away with such a treasonous, brazen act of robbery against the poor helpless masses of Sierra Leone that voted diligently for them…then they should both hands off, the affairs of the APC forever and retire peacefully into quietness and obscurity…their guidance will no longer be needed…its time to start Building Back from scratch….its time to Build Back Better.

    • Thank you for your timely attention . You need to endeavor to weed out culprits using well respected names to publish their trash on your respectable newspaper. For once, I knew something was off about this article purported to be sent by Logus. I know that brother very well and has always kept his political opinions private.

  5. Leo Africanus. Many thanks. Some people could do with some basic education. Respect and adoration should be earned. I cannot understand why thieves and people without integrity should be addressed as “Excellency”. Excellency my foot.

  6. Mr. Balogun Logus Koroma, please have the decency and maturity to address the president of Sierra Leone as his excellency, ‘Dr.’ Julius Maada Bio and not ‘Mr.’ Maada Bio. Whatever you guys say or do now is too late, my friend. There is a new power in Sierra Leone and it is the SLPP government under the astute leadership of president Maada Bio. Look at all the congratulatory messages that keep coming from all over the world for the country’s newly appointed leader, president Maada Bio. Let’s join the momentum and allow the SLPP government to continue its huge task of restoring sanity and stability to the country.
    Just so you know, I am not a party apologist for either the SLPP or APC . Maybe most people have forgotten how the APC, under the leadership of late president Siaka Stevens, won elections in the sixties and seventies in our country, Sierra Leone. Let’s don’t even go there, my friends because we know and we witnessed all the heinous crimes committed by the APC to stay in power. The APC party and its naysayers should be the last people to talk about election integrity in Sierra Leone. ‘Bo duya leh we lef’ This is just an unbiased opinion from a Sierra Leonean here in Atlanta, Georgia. Lonta.

    • The President of America is called Joe Biden, the U.K Prime Minister is called Rishi Sunak. Yet, the insignificant head of an insignificant country needs to be addressed by what?
      I really don’t know where you people get your mentality from and your lust for power and its trappings. Maada is heading a tribalistic government that has ruined the country, however, all you really want to do is kill people. A philosophy based on your Kamajor ideology. How can you live next to someone for twenty years and then burn his house down? Eat him alive, we still remember the charges of cannibalism against the Kamajors. Ernest Koroma should have jailed all of those cannibals, however, playing with them has emboldened them to commit more crimes.

      • Mr. Leo Africanus, I can see you are still hurt by your despicable recent loss at the polls, but not to worry, buddy, it’s a new day in Sierra Leone and whether you like it or not, a new government under president Maada Bio is in power. Nothing to do about it now. I will not go down that hateful and tribalistic road with you since I don’t belong to any of the two parties or live in the country.
        One thing I know is this, Africanus, Presidential elections all over the world are always fraught with problems and denials. Take here in the US, for example. Donald Trump is still griping over an election he clearly lost and most of his MAGA followers still believe the 2020 election was stolen. Take another case in point, Nigeria. President Tinubu is still being dragged in court by his opponents in their country’s recent election even though Tinubu won decisively. I could go on and on, the malady is spread every where.
        I just strongly believe that calling president MAADA Bio by the ‘Mr.’ Monicker is so ironic knowing how the APC refuse to accept its loss at the polls . Maybe a whiff of your memory in the sixties and seventies (if you were born then, that is) when elections were marred by beatings, tortures and deaths were the hallmark of the APC party to stay in power. You need to ask Mr. Logus Koroma about that sad episode in our history.
        Once again I don’t live in Sierra Leone and neither am I a party apologist. I am just putting the proverbial two cents in the political discourse. I know you , like other party stalwarts, are hurt by your despicable loss at the polls in our Salone election, but relax, dude, tomorrow is a new day and allow president Maada Bio to work for all Sierra Leoneans, irrespective of party affiliation. I won’t venture to say my country is insignificant at this point because every nation including rich and developed countries like the United States, Britain, France, Germany, etc, etc. are all going through trying times. Holler at your boy if you still feel disenfranchised, my friend.

  7. Mr. Sylvanus Koroma, you need “look at the man in the mirror and make a change”, rather than blaming our CREDIBLE INSTITUTIONS which your elder brother , Earnest Bye Bye Koroma, who is still the lifetime leader and chairman endorsed during the 11 years of APC misrule. The link below shows your VAGUE THREATS towards our COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF. Please move on with life because the election is over based on the fact that the ONLY constitutional Authority to announce the election results is the RETURNING OFFICER of the ELSL, and not the head of NEW or International Observer:

  8. Prince Harding has a skewed mentality which borders on hallucination, triggered by the consumption of too much alcohol, laced with prohibited drugs.A sober minded person would not indulge in the statements he has made in public. The country is walking the plank at the moment, which should be the guiding force for responsible utterances.
    Prince Harding wants a war of loose thinking ; he should be granted his wish on the platform of lessons designed to teach him how to control his tongue . He claims to have been educated in England. Education, as I see it, is the art of refinement, but Prince Harding doesn’t depict it. The British did a poor job. Sierra Leone is now saddled with a prince without a monarchy which has subjected him to a mental stupor, revealing his mental dwarfism which he sees in everybody who is not SLPP. He needs help.

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