Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 April 2012
The fourth phase of the biometric voter registration for the forthcoming presidential and general elections in Sierra Leone, which is slated for November 2012, officially closed on the 25th of March 2012. There are massive discrepancies in the figures, raising suspicion of fraud.
The total number of registered voters accounted for by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) stands at 2,701,299 – a massive 791,214 voters (21.62%) short of the total number registered for the 2007 elections.
Is the ruling APC planning to rig the elections by bribing the NEC to compromise the voter registration process?
At the start of the voter registration campaign, NEC projected an overall increase of 10% in the 2012 voter registration over that of 2007. But the figures revealed by the NEC shows an almost 22% decrease, for reasons yet to be convincingly explained to the people of Sierra Leone.
Although on average the figures tend to portray the general demographic dynamics of the country, the specific details of the current voter registration reveal a regular pattern of behavior that is inconsistent with normal population dynamics.
Could the voter registration anomaly be part of a grand design by the NEC to ensure a landslide victory for the ruling APC (All People’s Congress) party in November 2012, or is it entirely influenced by various natural factors?
The NEC is yet to clarify in no uncertain terms, the observed irregularities in the voter registration to the people of Sierra Leone.
Although the actual voter registration numbers for 2007 are hard to come by, one can still easily work this out from the 2007 vote count and percent turnout tallied by the NEC (National Electoral Commission) Progressive Election Results (NEC-PER) available at http://www.nec-sierraleone.org/.
What is clear from available statistics is that 45.16% of the registered voters in 2007 were in the SLPP (Sierra Leone People’s Party) strongholds of the Eastern and Southern Provinces; 30.95% in the APC stronghold of the Northern Province and 23.87% in the Western Area.
Now in 2012, the total registered voters in the SLPP strongholds have dropped by 4.52 percentage point from 45.16% to 40.64%, while the total number of registered voters in APC stronghold has actually risen by 3.44 percentage points – from 30.95% to 34.39%.
Also, the total number of registered voters in the Western Area marginally rose by 1.08 percentage point from 23.89% to 24.97%.
While the first two highest drop in voter registration are in Urban West (23.61%) and Kenema District (16.16%), the first two highest rise in voter registration are in the Rural West (1.99%) and Koinadugu District (0.85%).
Although one should expect high population regions like the Urban West to have significant population changes, this trend is not consistent when compared to the 2007 voter registration.
For instance, one may wonder why Kailahun ranks the third highest in district voter registration reduction, even though it ranks the sixth highest in districts registered voter population in 2007.
It is also justifiable to ask why Koinadugu district has the second highest rise in voter registration in 2012, even though it had the third lowest registered voter population in 2007.
Although this analysis can also be repeated for several other districts (all with trends against SLPP strongholds), the entire picture becomes even much clearer at the provincial level.
Based on the 2007 figures, the Northern Province has the highest registered voters. This is followed by the Eastern Province, Western Area and then the Southern Province.
However, in terms of percentage reduction in registered voters from 2007 to 2012, the most significant decline is in the Eastern Province, followed by the Southern Province and the Western Area.
Despite being the region with the highest registered voters in 2007 (and of course in 2012), the Northern Province has the least reduction in registered voters in the country.
To clarify even further this murky situation, 61.59% of the voter registration loss in the country is in the SLPP-stronghold of the Eastern and Southern Provinces. The Western Area has 21.62% – the second highest loss.
Only 16.79% of the voter registration loss across the country is in the APC-strong Northern Province.
Analysis of the 2012 voter registration statistics must compel every concerned Sierra Leonean to enquire, as to exactly what the figures are saying, in the face of the unconstitutional moves by the Koroma-led APC Government to win re-election in Sierra Leone by all means necessary.
Has the APC already rigged the elections by bribing NEC to compromise the voter registration process?
As non-insiders of NEC, however, we could only guess that the increase in voter registration in the Rural West, could have been spurred by the people’s enthusiasm for Kadi Sesay – who actually hails from that area.
So it is possible that the people in that area could have chosen to come out in full force to support their own daughter of the land. But what then can one say about the voter surge in the political hyper-active Northern Province?
Could it have been due to voter importation from Guinea, massive under-aged voter registration or a massive increase in the proportion of the under-aged population who actually met the minimum voting age?
What can we draw from the massive registered voter reductions in the SLPP-strongholds of Eastern and Southern Provinces?
Could the numbers have been compromised in these regions by NEC or could the APC-perpetrated violence in these regions – during the voter registration period, have deterred the people from registration?
The lingering doubts about this 2012 voter registration exercise are just endless. One would in fact ask why the overall massive registered voter reduction in the country.
Given that it was the very NEC headed by the same Christiana A. M. Thorpe that conducted the elections in 2007, why then did NEC fail to predict the voter reduction and on the contrary – predicted a significant increase in the number of registered voters across the country?
Could it be that the 2007 voter registration was grossly flawed? If so, could we then call on Ernest Bai Koroma to immediately step down? If not, then what plausible explanation does the NEC has at hand for the voter misprojection and massive voter anomalies?
Has the coalition of opposition parties seen what we have depicted and has it raised any concerns with NEC regarding the voter anomalies?
Despite the hard work of the SLPP leadership and management thus far, we frankly had expected the party to reach out to the other smaller parties to investigate and petition the NEC and the Koroma-led corrupt APC Government.
To our surprise, however, the SLPP secretariat and management have seemingly become overly complacent.
The management is a little too indulgent in the fact that SLPP is the oldest political party in Sierra Leone, and as such, wishfully thinks that the party enjoys an unwavering broad-based support across the country – irrespective of any prevailing political circumstance.
In this electronic age, any such wishful thinking is dangerously deceptive and only leaves the party and the people to undue exploitation by the ruthless APC political machinery.
It seems like everyone with influence in the SLPP party, has a hidden egoist agenda of self-first.
There also seems to be a growing trend of unhealthy rivalry among the influential followers of SLPP for recognition by the Bio / Sesay leadership, rather than a committed focus on an all-win election strategy for the party.
Given especially the current political atmosphere, such deceptive self-first attitudes are only bound to cause doom to the SLPP party and all its good-wishers at home and abroad.
For that purpose, a radical administrative and political overhaul is required wherein the cabal of lazy, cash-consuming sycophancy that now hedges around the Bio / Sesay leadership can be disbanded.
As a matter of urgency therefore, we urge the Bio / Sesay leadership and the entire SLPP management to swiftly begin to re-organize the rank and file of the entire SLPP party from the perspective of an all-win election strategy for the November 2012 elections.
So all who are in the current leadership and management of SLPP must put aside this gimmicky self-first stuff (at least for the time being) and concentrate on mapping and implementing a solid all-win strategy for the presidential and general elections in November 2012.
We say to you SLPP influentials to stop playing this politics of self-first (the very stuff we have become sick and tired of under APC) and be more nationalistic, by putting national interests above all else.
As a matter of urgency, the SLPP leadership, which is the voice of the people, must investigate and compile every bit of compelling story into formidable petitions of electoral fraud against NEC and the APC Government for reference of the international community.