Sylvanus Koroma: 18 July 2023:
It is now over three weeks since the June 24 Elections ended in Sierra Leone and even with the heavy demand from contestants and very key observers (including the International Community) for the publication of the disaggregated results by the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL), the ECSL has failed to produce the results.
What the ECSL did was to announce a controversial Presidential winner and whose results have already been publicly opposed as unacceptable with very clearly stated reasons for challenging the initial 60% percent results announced and that unacceptance continued even when a so called 100% of the same was announced.
The ECSL later announced the District Block Proportional Representation System results of seats won in Parliament by contestants, and much later announced Mayoral and Chairpersons results followed by Councillors for the Local Councils without showing how it arrived at such conclusion for the contestants and the public to verify the authenticity and correctness of such announcement.
Many Sierra Leoneans and if not most Sierra Leoneans are now questioning the credibility of the results announced by ECSL Commissioner Konneh. The public perception about the June 24 Elections results is that the results are not credible and that they are just cooked up data based on the figment of imagination of the ECSL boss.
And that the over three weeks delay to produce the ‘disaggregated results’ polling station by polling station countrywide by ECSL, explains a lot to the public that the announced results were fictitious, and if subjected to verification, it will further expose the incompetence of the ECSL.
Instead of the ECSL to respond to the popular demands of the contestants and the public at large (including the International Community) for the disaggregated results to be published i.e., polling station by polling station nationwide, the SLPP hierarchy in cohort with ECSL are requesting the leading challenger the All Peoples Congress (APC) to first showcase its Results Reconciliation Forms (RRF).
This is how callous and ineffective the ECSL has been so far! And no doubt, the European Union for instance had reported about the biasness and unreliability of the ECSL and other pertinent Sierra Leonean institutions in terms of fairly and independently delivering its/their functions to the people of Sierra Leone and Sierra Leoneans in particular.
What is now happening in terms of the ECSL failing to produce the disaggregated results is a manifestation of gross incompetence of this institution. And such incompetence can lead this country to another war as advised by the current National Leader of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) Mr. Julius Maada Bio.
The SLPP National Leader Mr. Julius Maada Bio said and warned NEC (now ECSL) that he will resist and will not accept any rigged elections. He said that for him to accept elections results, such results must by every standard be clean! He in fact emphatically warned against rigged elections wherein he said that RIGGED ELECTIONS WILL LEAD TO WAR.
What Mr. Julius Maada Bio said then was validated to be true. And that truth is a concern to date. Therefore, it behoves all well-meaning Sierra Leoneans to face the facts and amicably advocate for the right thing to be done now before situation degenerates beyond our control. And this means that if it requires us as Sierra Leoneans to talk the hard facts to Mr. Julius Maada Bio for example, and or any other pertinent person(s), we should do it without fear or favour and put Sierra Leone first.
Before Mr. Julius Maada Bio became President of the Republic of Sierra Leone on Wednesday 4th April 2018, he was certainly not the Commander-In-Chief the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces but was at liberty to speak up on elections issue leading to the 2018 elections. And on assumption to the office as Commander-In-Chief, it was certain, and he was certainly not going to continue in that position forever.
And even though the SLPP certificated but uneducated National Chairman Dr Prince Harding publicly said that they will never hand over power to the ‘APC’, the APC whom he described as mad people when he was addressing a section of the International Community Observers (specifically EU Observer Mission) whom he also described as intellectual dwarfs in front of a camera talking to his SLPP National Leader Mr. Julius Maada Bio who smiled and again acknowledged all these derogatory and hate speech by the certificated and not educated SLPP Chairman as the Leader did not stop him nor condemn the aforesaid Chairman’s rhetoric.
The SLPP leadership will point fingers at the opponents for failing to condemn hate and derogatory speech but will smile to the applauds of its own hate and derogatory speeches. What a hypocrisy at its height. But what is important to note here is that both the National Leader and National Chairman of the SLPP are not gods.
It is only God will say that He will never allow power to be handed over to the APC and it happens thus. The APC had been overthrown by the National Provisional Ruling Council (including the current SLPP National Leader as one of the coupists lieutenants from the Tiger Battalion on Wednesday April 29th 1992), but the APC came back to power and many more Sierra Leoneans are still looking forward to the One Nation APC style of governance as oppose to the notorious one-tribe dominance governance style.
Sierra Leoneans want peace, and Sierra Leoneans equally know that peace without justice is a sham. Therefore, mediators who are advocating for peace must go back to the drawing board to ensure that JUSTICE is brought first in the advocacy for peace to reign.
Mr. Julius Maada Bio has already warned against elections rigging and what was/is good for him should not be taken in isolation to mean that such was reserved just for him and the SLPP alone. And ignoring JUSTICE in our elections is a recipe for trouble.
Sierra Leoneans can be very peaceful but not when someone takes them for granted as the boastful certificated but uneducated National Chairman of the SLPP Dr Prince Harding reported to his Party Leadership.
It is a fact that Mr. Julius Maada Bio has been on record pointing fingers at the APC especially former President Ernest Bai Koroma stating that the former President is not denouncing hate speeches. But it is now clear to many that the SLPP National Leader Mr. Julius Maada Bio enjoys talking what he does not actually do, and or he pretends that people do not see through his actions.
The notorious Austin Johnny has been all over the place ranting hate messages and the National Leader of the SLPP turns blind eye and deaf ears to things done and said by members of the SLPP because maybe he considers them as better or the privileged Sierra Leoneans over non-SLPP Sierra Leoneans.
And this kind of action by Mr Julius Maada Bio confirms and is in sync with his wife’s infamous public forum statement that IT IS ONLY PEOPLE WHO ARE SLPP THAT ARE TRUE SIERRA LEONEANS AS SHE SPEAKS.
Has the National Leader of SLPP Mr. Julius Maada Bio told his wife that her statement in which she said that the SLPP that are the only true Sierra Leoneans is offensive to non-SLPP Sierra Leoneans to date?
And Mr. Julius Maada Bio must also publicly denounce the reckless statements of his Party’s National Chairman amongst the many other hate rhetoric statements of some of his Party membership.
Going forward, well-meaning Sierra Leoneans should now launch an investigation and as well campaign against what can be described as policy statements of the SLPP National Chairman Dr Prince Harding (and in the presence of the SLPP National Leader Mr. Julius Maada Bio including a cross section of the SLPP membership) in which he stated/implied that elections are irrelevant in Sierra Leone because the SLPP will never hand over power to the APC.
The certificated but not educated SLPP National Chairman Dr Prince Harding’s statement if allowed to go unchecked would open a floodgate for electoral coups and cheating of elections which will eventually lead to another war in Sierra Leone as it was rightfully suggested by the current National Chairman of the SLPP Mr Julius Maada Bio leading to the 2018 elections.
In a nutshell, to avoid all ill-happenings in Sierra Leone, it is the popular view by most Sierra Leoneans that the June 24 Elections should be annulled and cancelled for fresh elections.
The fact that the ECSL has been unable to produce the ‘disaggregated results’ of the aforesaid elections polling stations by polling stations that should be verified by contestants or their representatives and observers; and as well ensure that the verified votes meet the 300 voters criteria per polling station, and the failure to have this long without providing the said disaggregated results is enough evidence of the incompetence of ECSL in handling the elections.
The ineptitude of the ECSL leadership in handling the June 24, 2023, election is a recipe for the current impasse in Sierra Leone. And the denial of this fact will be catastrophic for Sierra Leone’s growth.
Sierra Leone is for all Sierra Leoneans, and Sierra Leoneans rights and votes must be respected! It is not for a certificated and uneducated SLPP National Chairman in the person of Dr Prince Harding to determine who should hold power, that right to determine who holds power is in the ballot box. And going forward Sierra Leoneans are very determined to resist any attempt of an electoral coup.
On that note, Sierra Leoneans are very much thankful and grateful for the leadership displayed last week and this week by compatriots in the diaspora especially in the United States of America and United Kingdom by kick starting the protests to Save Democracy in Sierra Leone.
It is the hope that such protests will continue until the June 24 elections are nullified as the ECSL cannot produce the disaggregated results that meets the threshold for acceptability to move this country from its impasse.
Finally, the certified but uneducated SLPP National Chairman Dr Prince Harding must withdraw his hate and derogatory speech on the video that has gone viral and apologize not only to the nation/Sierra Leoneans but the International Community.