Polling station ransacked by thugs – NEC cancels election results at Constituency 110

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 25 August 2019:

The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has  cancelled the results of the re-run elections in constituency 110 in Freetown. Votes cast at all polling centres have been tallied by NEC, with the exception of one centre where all ballot papers and equipment were destroyed yesterday by thugs.

It is not certain which group of political party supporters destroyed the polling materials and drove away voters, but tonight questions are being asked as to whether the police simply turned a blind eye, or were unable to provide security at the polling station.

But should NEC have cancelled all of the results they have so far counted and tallied? Should they not have simply set a date for fresh election at the destroyed polling station?

One eye witness who was at the NEC Tally Centre at Wellington said: “I was in the NEC Tally Centre yesterday at Wellington. All the RR Forms entered where without any problems. The Table displayed on the wall  before us shows APC winning the Election with 43% and SLPP 40%.

“The decision to announce the results is the responsibility of the Commission as they were to take a decision on the Angola Town saga in which the SLPP  thugs disrupted the entire centre. To me, 93% of centers entered is a solid reason for the Commission to announce the results, since the remaining 7% is not materially important.

“But NEC by their press statement released this morning, they’re looking at the number of voters which is about 2000 in a mist of 38% Turnout.

“Angola Town  is the stronghold of the Opposition APC Party, the home of Hon. Kadie Davies (APC candidate). It was deliberately destroyed by SLPP Arata because of the expected victory for the APC”.

There are mixed reactions to today’s decision by NEC to cancel all the results of the by-election at Constituency 110 that have so far been counted and tallied. Many ruling SLPP party supporters say that NEC is justified in cancelling the results.

The opposition APC strongwoman – Dr Sylvia Olayinka Blyden said: “There is absolutely no legal basis for NEC’s decision to cancel those results. The only legal step that is correct is to re-run the election in the single polling centre affected. That’s all. That is what the Law allows for. Cancellation of the entire results lacks a legal justification”.

This is the Chief Electoral Commissioner – Mohamed Nfa Alie Conteh speaking on AYV TV today:

This is NEC’s statement:

 

17 Comments

  1. The people of consistency 110 in Hamilton cannot be intimidated by the paopa thuggery that has been sown by the ‘new direction’ Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) since coming into power through a controversial result in the 2018 parliamentary and presidential elections. They clearly made their choice on these elections, in Hon. Kadijatu Davies of the All Peoples Congress (APC) party, and were not unnerved to endorse that fact in what many would see as a bogus exercise to instil a regime, that is constantly losing public appeal and credibility, by the minute.

    Other things equal: no rigging; no intimidation of the electorate by the use of any apparatus; no bribery or political corruption; no bullying; and amongst other deceitful and dangerous tactics associated by this ‘new direction’ government – it is now evident that the people of constituency 110 would come back any other day, to register the love and tust of their choice.

    The SLPP had been a violent and rogue party from time immemorial. The problem is, they are also sly characters; as they have been blackmailing the APC all along. Now, their violent nature has intensified since the paopa mentality was introduced into the party.

    The APC are not angels either; and the SLPP are quite aware of what they are capable of. However, to the eyes of many, a new trend is developing in the political landscape of Sierra Leone. Since the 2018 elections, the SLPP has been on the OFFENSIVE – the exclusive commission of inquiry (COI); non payment of gratuities and other benefits to officials of the past APC administration; the harasssmrnt, detention, maiming and killing of opposition APC members or supporters; the degradation of the constitution; the firing of tear gas canisters at APC supporters on their premises; the desperate intent to rig elections – in what amounts to a pre-emptive strategy, in an attempt to introduce an unrealistic paopa ideology that can only be compared to despotism.

    The APC on the other hand, since they are still sweating in the dock, have no choice but to take a defensive stance. An appropriate strategy taken by the main opposition, some will agree, that would restore the status quo in terms of peace and security in the country. Notwithstanding, this fragile situation is not going to last forever, irrespective of the outcome of the COI. And sooner than later, the country will be echoing louder than ever, for their disappointment on the failure of the ‘new direction’ SLPP to deliver their promises.

    What would be the political climate in the country with regards to the new relationship that would evolve leading to the next elections, in 2023? Will the populace be allowed to exercise their right to self determination on their preferences to political parties or dogmas, or forcibly disenfranchised in what is already looking like a false democracy?

  2. Why insulted Trump for calling African countries shit holes. You have just seen the evidence. Why can’t the loser ask for a recount or accept the results? Wasting time and money. Poor countries, everybody is hungry.

  3. It is rather unfortunate for the people of constituency 110 for once again being disenfranchised because of the violence which has infested that particular constituency in the western area of greater rural Freetown. Speaking from a personal experience in the peninsula where my grand parents from my maternal side hailed from, used to be considered as a paradise because of the natural beauty and the good and humble upbringing of most of the residents.

    The positive step that the National Electoral Commissioner ( NEC ) took should be commended because based on the results read, the difference between the APC and the SLPP is just 174 at 93% of valid votes and the remaining 7% is still a mystery since those voters precincts were ransacked due to another election violence , even after the initial postponement of the Headman election by the Office of the National Security ( ONS) , the annulment of the 2018 election by the High Court and now by the NEC as they also did in the Kambia District.

    My other question is, how accurate was the last violent election that the APC party claimed to have won by a margin of 2,250 difference when 8 political parties contested as compared to 174 difference with 93% votes counted between 4 political parties?

    Even if the SLPP party should have won this bye election which based on this initial results should have been a slim margin, there should have been an outcry from the APC party that the culprits that are still in custody because of the criminal destruction of properties of peaceful citizens should have made the difference to prevent a SLPP victory.

    In my opinion I personally believe that the ONS should have recommended postponement of this bye election until the end of the trial of these suspects so that nobody should feel disenfranchised, and I hope that the incident in that precinct will be investigated and the people responsible should be punished. Thankfully Mr. N’f Alie Conteh has once again sent a message just like the former NEC Commissioner ( Christiana Thorpe ) that violence in any election in unacceptable.

  4. Well,well,well – someone here doesn’t believe the Police are now being manipulated by the Ruling SLPP, like puppets, behind the scenes on delicate strings. Now that’s outright being naive,and shockingly gullible. The article above,is an excellent one – unmatched, precise,objective,and thought-provoking.

    You think its that easy huh? Try writing something as sweet,evenhanded,and informative as briefly as possible,and see if you are not soaked,and drenched with sweat,trying to finish,half a line. Talk is Cheap! Again,are you saying that because Dr Blyden is APC,she lacks the ability to tell the truth? Now that’s a new one for me – you people never cease to confound,and amaze me.

    Seriously, I don’t care about your hidden motives,and where your loyalties lie,but try as best as you can,to be pragmatic,judicious,and sensible whenever participating on this Forum. And who would be so head scratching silly to believe that no development whatsoever has been done by the APC member of Parliament that represented constituency 110,where it seems,you’ve lived for more than a decade? Outright lie!

    So how did that APC MP you are trying to tarnish,and discredit here get re-elected over,and over again? Its clear to me he was doing some amount of good for the people there. Strange,that some people still have the audacity to come here and defend a criminal minded,tribalistic,insouciant President – a man who once overthrew legitimate power: A wolf dressed in the clothing of harmless sheep,discreetly robbing our people,while pretending to save them from corruption.

    Let me reiterate – I don’t care where your loyalty rests,mine stands like a Sentry, with justice,equity,and the truth…Find yourself some courage lady, and be bold enough to say where your loyalties lie. That’s a step in the right direction! If you are not choosing sides in this inescapable,organized madness,then without any doubt,you are part of the problems that are keeping our nation stagnated,and forever going backwards…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

  5. PhilipTaiwo – honestly,I was beginning to take you seriously until you mentioned,and cited,KAILAHUN as a point of reference – and then I came to a screeching halt,like Hamilton’s lightning-quick,Formula 1 racing car roasting,and burning up tyre’s. Lmao!

    Listen,I already know where this conversation is headed,and it will be a waste of time to try and engage myself in any kind of logical, practical,sensible dialogue because you just won’t be able to cope. A lion sizes up,and senses a prey,and knows that killing it,is a done deal – so do I.

    If I begin,I will never end! I will be all over you like a mad pit bull on a thief,like salt on salted fish,like roaring flames of fire licking,and devouring dry wood – Get the point? The Stakes are too high presently,and I have promised a lot of people,I will do all I can not to get suspended,or banned from this forum ever again.

    So run along,and tell the inept potbelly SLPP,idling around in their party headquarters that their silly,little plan they devised against me has completely failed…No more insults,that was a promise I made the Honorable Mr Thomas,and I intend to keep it! Word is bond! Rising Sun Will Rise Again!

  6. I’m sick and tired of this never ending stories of election rigging and election violence. After reading and listening to the statements made by the two big parties before the re-run election, one need not be surprise about the outcome. We are simply not capable of conducting an election, because each and every one of us is so biased; and the institutions that should be there to correct our mistakes are almost non existence.

    Ironically, we all claim to love our country, but if that’s the case why can’t we throw away the SLPPs, APCs and others and form a government of NATIONAL UNITY free from PARTY POLITICS. A GOVERNMENT ONLY THERE FOR THE WELL BEING OF OUR COUNTRY!

  7. APC don’t you think that you are in opposition? For God’s sake, let us allow NEC to do their work. Your prayer is to see this government fail. Solve the problem in your party first.

  8. I have gone through the Press Release of NEC. I have also gone through the article in this paper. The Press release states that the difference between the two leading candidates is 174 votes. We have a polling station with over 2000 registered voters that was disrupted and therefore not counted. Putting partisan politics aside, I think the NEC chairman is right to cancel the election results. If one thousand voters were to turn out to vote at the disrupted polling station, the results can go in anyone’s favour.

    While many partisan participants on this forum are quick to cast doubt on the ruling government for the disruption, I have not seen the police report to substantiate such claims. The article itself offers little help as 60% of it is echoing the opinion of the opposition APC party position on this election. That is, the anonymous eye witness quoted in this article and Sylvia Blyden a full-fledged APC member who is remotely giving her verdict from far away land.

    What most of us are failing to say or understand is that this bye election is coming up as a result of petition of vote rigging in the March 2018 General election. It took the court over a year to give a verdict.

    In this bye election, it would be the same mistake if NEC is to disenfranchise over 2000 voters – another avenue for petition. Therefore, to avoid such scenario, it is but proper that the NEC authorities re-run this election. Let the Politicians and partisans for goodness sake allow the process to go through unhindered without violence.

    The Police by their failure are making people to cast so much doubt about their work, and by extension unnecessary suspicion. When President Koroma was in power it was the same. I do not think that the government would give orders for the police to not police an election. The entire current flock of police officers have been in the force since the APC was in power. They would not all of a sudden become SLPP stooges, especially whether their modus operandi before and after remains the same. It is incompetency that is responsible for this.

    Constituency 110 which is where I am housed has not seen any development since the re-introduction of Multi party election in 1996. First it was represented by Reverend Chambers of the SLPP until 2007. From 2007 until 2018, it was represented by an APC MP.

    Why would people be fussing and fighting over that which is only benefiting the politicians and not the ordinary Joe in Ogoo Farm? Mental slavery is what the people are being held under; partisan politics according to tribe, nomenclature and regionalism.

    • Aminata Conteh. With all due respect. This is not the moment to wait for any YUKI YUKI explanation from anyone. To be honest with me, were you really following the incidents that preceded the bye-Election? ARRESTING, INTIMIDATION, VIOLENCE and INCARCERATION of opposition members and supporters was chosen over what you are now talking about.

      In fact, the police should have been more vigilant during this bye election because of all the CHAOS that preceded the bye-Election. That did not happen. Do you agree with me? This has nothing to do with PARTISAN POLITICS. We must all condemn this DESTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOUR to our DEMOCRACY. Maybe, we will listen to the stories later.

      Aminata Conteh there waiting for the honest or YUKI YUKI information from the NEC and the POLICE FOREVER. GOD BLESS YOU Aminata.

    • Aminata Conteh, thanks for the unbiased and analytically rigorous comments. Upon reading your excellent analysis, I decided to neither issue any comments of my own nor read any other comments below.

  9. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to figure out who the suspects are, regarding the vandalization of the polling centers. By all indications, the polling centers targeted sits at the heart of the APC candidate neighborhood; so the voters in that location are expected to overwhelming cast their votes in her favor. With the aforementioned, one can deduce that, the perpetrators are no other than the SLPP agents.

    The perplexing aspect of this entire saga is the law enforcement officers giving way for such a thing to happen. It appears a game plan was put in place from a higher level of the regime, so the lower ranking law enforcement officers at the scene had no choice but to step aside or risk getting hurt; or likely lose their jobs.

    The main suspect, the POAPA self made thug – ARATA, was video taped driving, speeding recklessly, on their way to terrorize the polling centers. Multiple videos of him and his gangs are in circulation on social media platforms — their behaviors brings back memories of how the RUF rebels used to handle themselves while besieging a captured town or city.

    Perhaps what is even more troubling is the fact that the ARATA and his thugs are well known within the security forces, yet no one dares to touch or arrest him. The manner in which their jeep was speeding alone, warrants an involvement from the law enforcement officers. But none of that happened. In broad day light, these thugs were allowed to have a field day on the opposition.

    Despite the magnitude of the crime, we have yet to hear of any decision to arrest the perpetrators. There has been destruction of properties and billions of leones wasted to conduct these elections. Now everything has been cancelled due to these barbaric acts.

    I honestly would like to hear from folks participating in this forums who few weeks ago were applauding the police for arresting opposition members. Now that the suspects are all SLPP thugs, can you at least demand that they be brought to justice?

    This is just another incident proving that the current SLPP with the POAPA faction, is just as lawless, indiscipline, and barbaric as many claimed of the former APC regime.

  10. It should be clear to everyone by now that this SLPP government is the most corrupt in West Africa presently. True or false? Absolutely true! Here they are once again,stupidly grasping at straws,even though everyone knows, nothing,or no one can save them from drowning,and disappearing into oblivion forever,out of our sight.

    They are a crooked,cowardly,unthinking bunch who have never won any election fairly,squarely and decisively ever in the history of our beloved nation. The NEC cancelling the election without valid,tangible reasons,and proofs, is unacceptable,and quite suspicious. You don’t need me to tell you SLPP bogey monsters,and crooked handlers are pulling the strings,behind the scenes.

    It was a deliberate,calculated act,it seems,for the Police not to interfere,and restore order,and discipline. Seriously, because they already knew they were losing,law enforcement was advised to ignore,and look the other way,while chaos by their supporters erupted,and spread like wildfires.

    And there you have it, corruption in its crudest,most despicable forms coming straight from State House,the Peoples House of governance. Ask yourself,are these dullards in green,really up to the task of governing this already struggling, stagnated, bankrupt nation,and steering it calmly towards security,peace,and prosperity? Again,absolutely not.

    They are failing every minute, doing all the wrong things that are not permissible in prudent,sensible governance,and that are against the sustainable growth of a fragile democracy still in its infancy. So let’s wait,a day or two,and we will be able to assess,and separate the lies from the truth – that’s when you will be shocked to finally see how lawless,shady,and thieving this SLPP government really is….Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • Please stop writing nonsense. I advise you to go back and do your research to know what Dr. Christiana Ayoka Mary Thorpe who is a former two-term Chief Electoral Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Electoral Commission DID years back to Sierra Leoneans in Kailahun. You don’t read history, or you just want to propagate things here? Or you think that most people are just naïve like you?

      Please do not get me wrong here – I am not in favor of what NEC has done; and similarly so, I am not in support of what has happened to citizens of 110. BUT for you to bring a single party name to justify your ignorant view is totally wrong.

    • Look at what Mr. Philip Taiwo is saying. I am sorry to say that Mr. Philip Taiwo is trying to take us ages back with our new found DEMOCRACY. Hear him talking about history whilst at the same time saying, he does not support what happened to the citizens of constituency 110. I would urge Mr. Philip Taiwo to come out publicly to condemn this DISGRACEFUL BEHAVIOUR to our DEMOCRACY without making any historical references.

      This is not a partisan issue. It is a very dangerous situation that must make every Sierra Leonean nervous and scared. The very nature that people who are trusted to protect us were watching it happening without action, makes it dangerously EXTRAORDINARY and UNPRECEDENTED. A RECIPE for CHAOS and ANARCHY. No one wants that to happen. Do you agree with me Mr. Philip Taiwo?

      Mr. Philip Taiwo there hesitating to condemn this DISGRACEFUL and BARBARIC behaviour to our DEMOCRACY. ARGUE!

    • Mr. Patrick Jah! Do you THINK the NEC GENTLEMAN is doing his job to plunge our country into CHAOS and ANARCHY? Or, are you CONCERNED that he is doing his job to plunge our country into CHAOS and ANARCHY?

      Mr. Patrick Jah there confused about the meaning of TRANSPARENCY. I will visit this article multiple times to make sure the LIARTEERS go on the DEFENSIVE with this DISGRACEFUL incident to our DEMOCRACY.

  11. Indeed. SLPP ARSTAS on the rampage to cause CHAOS and ANARCHY in our country. Such acts of BARBARISM must be condemned forthwith. This is a serious problem that must not be overlooked. We must wakeup. Things are getting worse. So, the arrests and intimidation of opposition supporters and members before the bye-Election in constituency 110 was a lost cause for the government.

    The bye-Election held in KONO has been an example to the whole country that TEARGASING of an OPPOSITION LEADER on the streets of PORT LOKO, arrests, incarceration of opposition members at Pademba Road Prisons and INTIMIDATION will not help the SLPP win. The people have to love you to make you win their votes. PERIOD.

    Where were the police when all this happened? I don’t know the rules governing the elections but, the NEC should have just accepted the votes counted so far and make a rerun on the polling station affected in my view. That makes sense. SO, APC WON? LA JI LA! AH TELL YOU. The struggle continues for democracy.

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