Sierra Leone elections – The hills and the valleys will now echo our cry

Sulaiman Storm Koroma: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 March 2018:

It has been a hectic month for all political parties ahead of March 7. We have seen crowds and counter crowds, heard party songs and anti-party songs. Not to talk about the popular names leaving their political parties for others (cross carpeting), which has added to the great drama, the last four weeks had produced.

Finally, our work, schooling, trading and prayers would no longer be interrupted by political party fanatics, who would do anything to show that their party can win an election.

Yes, there were rumours of some violence in some areas, tearing of campaign posters, and even deaths in some cases, which sometimes happen even in a civilized democracy.

The entry of female candidates is terribly low. In total their are 16 presidential candidates, 14 males and 2 females (14%).

795 candidates contested for parliamentary seats, with 695 males and 100 females (12.58%).

For the local council elections, we have 2,625 people contesting, with 2,159 males and 464 females (17.69%).

78 candidates contested for Local Council Chairperson positions, with 73 males and 5 females (6.41%).

For Mayor positions, there were a total of 42 candidates – 29 males and 13 females (30.93%).

In total, we have 3,178,663 registered voters in the country, with 1,654,228 females and 1,524,435 males. Even though there were more women registered voters than men, they are still poorly represented in all contesting positions.

The campaign musical sets are silent. No more street or town parades, nor would there be any arguments about whose supporters will fill the national stadium or whose supporters were mainly children or non-voters.

Even those that thought they had won the elections; for them, this period will be mainly for reflection. The votes have been cast. (Photo: This is the best display of what Sierra Leone election 2018 was all about – passion. Everyone wanted to cast their vote – and, they got there anyway they can). 

Many questions would now be asked by political parties, such as: “The crowds we had during campaign rallies – were they registered votes?”

Did people take part in campaign rallies simply to collect the cash and in some cases alcohol that were being dished out, or were they genuine supporters campaigning for their parties?

The hills and the valleys shall echo our cry as we now have total silence. No more campaigning, no more street and stadium rallies.

On the 7th of March, the voters were the kings and queens of Sierra Leone. They have spoken.

They will determine the next president of this great republic.

When the election results are announced, then we are in for the last jubilation of the party that would have won. After that our roles as citizens are repositioned to what it was before elections.

May the best person win. May the counting of the votes be fair. And may the results be accepted by all – in peace.

(Photo: Ruling APC party presidential candidate – Samura Kamara – standing right, pondering the possibility of losing the elections after polling had closed yesterday). Politics is indeed not for the faint-hearted.

The hills and the valleys shall now echo our cry.

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