Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 April 2018:
In a few hours, Sierra Leone’s electoral body – the National Electoral Commission will announce the result of the presidential election, which has been fiercely fought between the ruling APC candidate – Dr samura Kamara and the opposition SLPP’s Maada Bio.
But in the meantime a diplomatic row has broken up between the ruling APC and the international community, whom APC officials are accusing of interfering in the country’s election outcome.
In particular, it is the former Ghanaian president – John Mahama, who has been directly accused and even insulted by APC officials. They say that mahama has been working behind the scenes to ensure that SLPP wins the election.
“There is an international conspiracy to steal our victory. It is led by British High Commissioner Guy Warrington, implemented by former Ghanaian President Mahama whose brother is funding Julius Bio” – said Deputy Information Minister – Cornelius Deveaux on SLBC.
Is the ruling APC losing the election and now looking for a scapegoat to blame for their inept and lackluster election campaign?
Responding from Accra, Ghana today, the not so bemused and shocked former president Mahama, made this statement to clear his reputation and credibility, that the ruling APC are now trying to tarnish. This is what he said:
“I arrived in Accra this evening to a flurry of social media stories and other worrying reports attributed to officials of the Sierra Leonean Government, that I had cut short my mission and left Freetown because of my support for one of the Candidates and Political Parties in the just ended Presidential Run-off election.
As Chair of the Commonwealth Observer Group to the Sierra Leone Election, I was officially due to complete my Mission and leave Sierra Leone on Monday April 02, 2018, via Kenya Airways as per the ticket bought and issued to me by the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.
Following multiple issues that arose just when the tallying of the result from the run-off began, I was requested through a call from the Secretary General of The Commonwealth, Baroness Scotland, to stay one more day to work with my colleague Heads of International Observer Missions to resolve issues that had stalled the tallying process.
My departure was therefore delayed until Tuesday April 03, 2018.
With this extension in mind, I joined my colleagues in multiple meetings with the political stakeholders on April 01, 2018 until well after midnight to achieve consensus in order to have the tallying process proceed. All these meetings were chaired by Professor Amos Sawyerr, Head of the ECOWAS Observation Mission.
In the afternoon, just before my departure from Freetown, I joined my colleague former Presidents, Amos Sawyer of Liberia, Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, Dr. Mohammed Ibn Chambas at the Presidential Lodge to brief President Ernest Bai Koroma on our efforts in reaching an agreement between the political parties and the National Electoral Commission in order that the tallying process could proceed.
I bid farewell to President Koroma before I drove to the sea coach to leave for Lungi Airport.
My departure from Freetown was not sudden and when I bid farewell to President Koroma I did not get any indication in word or deed that I was not wanted anymore in his country.
I was leaving because by my agreement with The Commonwealth my mandate as Head of Mission had ended. The Commonwealth technical team were also due to leave Freetown on April 03, 2018 but a cancellation of their Air France flight is keeping them there till Wednesday April 04, 2018.
International Observers have no capacity to change the will of the people, in any election. I, John Dramani Mahama, have no interest in who governs the people of Sierra Leone. The long nights, early mornings, long meetings, diplomatic shuttles were all aimed at helping Sierra Leone choose their leader freely, maintain the peace and consolidate their democracy.
As President of the Republic of Ghana and Chair of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in 2014, I visited Sierra Leone when all others abandoned the country and foreigners were leaving. I offered my country as the staging post for the fight against Ebola.
I have expressed openly to anyone who would listen the progress Sierra Leone has made since I last visited when the country was at its most vulnerable, at the height of the Ebola crisis. I have absolutely no interest in who becomes President of Sierra Leone at the end of this elections. I just believe that a credible election would consolidate not only Sierra Leone’s democracy but also its peace, bearing in mind it’s past gruesome civil war.
If my presence, in the midst of a volatile and violent situation, at Goderich during the first round of voting to prevent what would have clearly marred a beautiful day of election, or my actions in conducting my mandate as head of my mission has so angered some people so much, as to throw such accusations at me, I can only respond that, I wish Sierra Leone well and that on this exhausting mission, I put my best experience at the service of that nation’s democracy and I pray that the in the end, whoever emerges as leader will continue to consolidate this process and continue to build on the good works of his predecessors.
Let us all continue to join the good people of Sierra Leone in prayer,” said John Mahama.
But some in the ruling APC party have been quick to debunk the blame game being played by their officials.
The daughter of the former Attorney General – the late Serry Kamal – Warra Serry Kamal, said this:
“Honestly let’s stop blaming the international community for our problems and losses. They did not and cannot vote in our elections. Let us take responsibility. If we lose, we lose because our party did not perform and did not do what it ought to have in our ten year of rule.
“Lets not shift responsibility. Our failures and issues rest on our shoulders and the shoulders of our leaders. Our party failed our people and took them for granted. They repaid us by not voting at all or at worse voting for the opposition.
“We are at this crossroads today because we refused to hold our leaders responsible. We consolidated power in them and allowed them to act with impunity. It is that impunity that has come home to roost.”
This episode will be remembered for the crass stupidity of some of the ruling APC officials, who yesterday called for the expulsion of international diplomats and election observers from Sierra Leone:
“By notice of this press release we shall be staging a peaceful protest tomorrow Wednesday 4th April, 2018 against foreign interference by certain Election Observers into the conduct of our internal general election which took place on March 7, 2018 and presidential runoff election which took place on 31st March, 2018 respectively.
“It has come to our notice that the Ghanaians and British have signed a communiqué with NEC Commissioner Mohamed N’fah Alie Conteh, former interim president of Liberia Amos Sawyer, SLPP Presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio, former Ghanaian president and head of the Commonwealth Election Observer Mission to Sierra Leone, Mahama, British High Commissioner Guy Warrington, the EU representative and others in an effort to endorse Julius Maada Bio even though the latter did not win the election.
“We are therefore calling on all patriotic and well-meaning Sierra Leoneans, APC supporters and members to converge at the APC party headquarters beginning 7am with placards calling for the immediate expulsion of all foreign observer missions (especially British, EU and Ghanaians) currently in the country.
“We are furthermore calling on all APC supporters to come out in their thousands to protest against this indecent and unwarranted interference into our internal politics for which they had no right because Sierra Leone is a sovereign state,”
said a memo written by the APC Warriors Communication Network.