NEC incompetency is fuelling constituency 110 re-run chaos and violence – Op-ed

Tcho-Gbabior Kenah: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 4 November 2020:

For the third time in a row under two different commissioners, Sierra Leone’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) cannot conduct a peaceful and credible elections in just one constituency.

In Constituency 110, Western Rural, elections violence is becoming normal. In the last two elections conducted at the constituency for the vacant seat at Parliament we saw disturbing videos making rounds on social media of violence, including the destruction of ballot papers and boxes and series of injuries on some party supporters mainly of the APC and ruling SLPP. Police involvement in the elections has not helped a bit… thing remains bizarre.

When I read a joint letter by the NGC and Unity Parties to NEC withdrawing from the December 12th reschedule election at the same constituency, I’m still anxiously waiting for their response to very disturbing claims made collectively by both parties and their reaction to withdraw.

To date, all I have been reading on social media is taunts from members of the two older parties who are involved in the disgraceful violent actions – mocking the two younger parties that are on the right path to a positive change of the narrative of our country’s politics.

“…..NEC’S THIRD attempt at conducting the same election having been unable to fulfil its mandate of organising the polls in a peaceful and non-violent manner in the previous attempts.” According to both the NGC and the UP ‘the last re-run was marred by violence before and on polling day….the disruption of the process and smashing of ballot boxes happened in full view of the public and under the watch of the Assistant Inspector General of Police(AIG) at the time, now Inspector General.

Ahead of the re-re-run scheduled for next month, we have already started seeing photos and videos of violent attacks on constituents again by members of the two old parties. We are heading into another failed election to be cancelled.

Very serious claims! And I believe as progressive citizens it should be our duty to call on NEC and the Police to address the issues that are threatening the peace and stability of the nation.

It’s high time we move past glorifying and idolising mediocrity in the name of party sentiments. We cannot continue in the same manner and expect a positive change.

The NGC and UP have asked NEC to withdraw their candidature fees which both parties think is best in their interests.

As a progressive young voice, I would have asked that both parties are compensated for their expenditures in campaigns and preparation for two elections that have proved useless – not by their own faults but by NEC’s incompetence and the violent nature of the APC and SLPP.

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