Pressure mounts on President Bio to step down as EU EOM calls for prompt publication of all disaggregated results data at polling station level

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 29 June 2023:

There is no doubt President Julius Maada Bio has stolen the votes of the people of Sierra Leone, so as to continue in office for a second term. Facilitated by the country’s electoral body – the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL), President Julius Maada Bio was fraudulently declared the winner of presidential election held on Saturday, 24 June 2023, and was sworn into office on Tuesday, 27th June 2023.

Calls for Sierra Leone’s brutal dictator to stand down are growing, as the  international community and people of Sierra Leone demand publication of all disaggregated results data at polling station level, which the opposition and the country’s election watchdog say, will show that the President did not win the election.  (Photo above: One of the many unarmed young citizens of Sierra Leone gunned down in cold blood by security forces under the command of President Bio).

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) is calling on the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone to promptly publish all disaggregated results data at polling station level, to ensure transparency and public scrutiny.

The EU EOM to Sierra Leone says in a statement that it is continuing to observe the ongoing electoral process, including the ongoing tabulation of results for parliamentary and local council elections.

On 26 June the EU EOM released a Preliminary Statement, noting that reception of sensitive materials and early stages of tabulation in regional tally centres “were assessed by EU EOM observers as lacking transparency.”

Another statement published by the EU EOM yesterday 28 June reads: “The EU EOM observers could not meaningfully observe verification of the result forms for the presidential election.

“Furthermore, the number and type of corrections and cancellations of polling station results was neither released nor shared with party agents and citizen observers.

“The lack of publication of disaggregated results data at the polling station level has compromised the transparency of the results management process.

“The EU EOM notes there are statistical inconsistencies between the first and second batch of presidential results published by the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) on 26 and 27 June, respectively.

“These include notable discrepancies in the number of average valid votes per polling station, ranging from a decrease of 75 per cent in Karene to an increase of 31 per cent in Kono.

“The results also show a particularly low number of invalid ballots of 0.4 per cent nationwide, as well as very high turnout in at least three districts exceeding 95 per cent, and in a further two districts exceeding 90 per cent.

“Statistical inconsistencies have also been noted by credible and impartial citizen observers.

“To defuse tensions, the EU EOM calls on the ECSL to promptly publish disaggregated results data per polling station, including a copy of results forms, which would provide for a possibility of public scrutiny of results and ensure transparency and certainty.

“The EU EOM encourages all stakeholders to address their grievances arising from the electoral process peacefully, through dialogue and by using the prescribed legal mechanisms.

“The mission has been present in Sierra Leone since 11 May and will continue to observe tabulation of results and post-election developments. The EU EOM will present and publish its final report, including recommendations for improving the electoral framework in the next few months,” the EU EOM statement ends.

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