SLPP claims by-election victory as opposition APC protests cancellation of results

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 August 2019:

It is now over 48 hours since the cancellation of all results counted so far from the by-elections held at Freetown’s Constituency 110. The elections were marred by vandalism and violence, the likes of which have hardly been witnessed before in any polling held in Sierra Leone.

A polling station at Angola Town was attacked by thugs, who ransacked and destroyed polling materials (see video below), whilst the police looked on passively.

Who are these thugs? Are they known to the police? Why have they not been arrested and charged to court?

Commenting on this video APC strongwoman – Dr Sylvia Olayinka Blyden said:  “I have identified Honourable Transport Minister Kabineh Kallon right in the morass alongside his armed Policemen. I have known ‘Arata’ (Aloish Deen-Tarawallie) very well since he was a mere teenager but after carefully studying this video, I certainly don’t see ‘Arata’ or any of his Lumley boys in this video. What I see are expensively-dressed SLPP young professionals kicking, scattering, destroying ballots and electoral materials with gross impunity in full view of the Cabinet Minister and the Police officers.”

The country’s national Electoral Commission yesterday decided to cancel all results that have been counted and tallied, following the destruction of polling materials at Angola Town.

Tonight, there are contrasting reactions from the two main political parties – the APC and SLPP, to this decision by NEC to cancel those results. Both parties are blaming each other for the mindless violence witnessed at the Angola Town polling station.

Writing in a press statement issued yesterday, Monday 26 August 2019, this is what Umaru Napoleon Koroma – the Secretary General of the ruling SLPP said:

The general public would recall that on Saturday August 24, the National Electoral Commission conducted rerun elections in Constituency 110 in the western area, as directed by the High Court in its ruling on May 31 this year.

The court negated the 2018 elections in the said Constituency due to proven electoral malpractices executed by the All Peoples Congress party. The SLPP welcomed the decision of the High Court as a mark of respect for the rule of law and integrity of the judiciary.

The public would also recall the militant posture of the main opposition APC after that decision, and their vile attempt to discredit the judiciary with series of unfounded allegations and even threatened  the safety of the judges.

As a law abiding party, we organized ourselves and entered peacefully for the elections, when NEC slated a date for its conduct.

The APC which had raged that it would not take part in any election conducted by NEC under the leadership of Mr. N’fa Conteh, rescinded its earlier decision and decided to take part in the elections of Saturday August 24.

During the campaign period, they unleashed mayhem on our candidate leading to the burning of her car and destruction of other property, that case is presently pending before the magistrate court and one of the APC party members Gibril Bangura, has been sending messages publicly threatening the life of the presiding magistrate.

The election started peacefully, until elements of the main opposition APC, allegedly led by Honorable Abdul Kargbo, attempted to disrupt the smooth flow of proceedings at or around Angola Town. Honorable Abdul Kargbo and his thugs were arrested with offensive weapons and illegal ballot boxes and whisked to the Lumley Police Station.

In the melee that the APC ignited, huge sections of votes could not be accounted for.  But after tallying of accessed results by our party, our candidate Josephine Jackson  clearly won the elections.

The results of the polling stations at Angola Town where the APC thugs attempted to rig and disrupted the electoral process, became contentious as it amounted to over 2900 votes and would affect the overall outcome of the election.

The SLPP condemns the barbaric act of violence perpetrated by the APC, especially a Member of Parliament who should be a fine example in society. We call for the speedy prosecution of those arrested during the skirmish on Saturday August 24.

The SLPP also  commends the security  forces for their professionalism in curbing the planned violence of the main opposition APC and ensuring that Sierra Leoneans continue to live  in peace.

The party is critically examining the decision by NEC to cancel the entire election and suggested rerun. We are convinced that our candidate should be declared winner of the elections, after all compiled results by our party show her victory. We also hold the view that the APC votes should have been annulled because of their planned and carefully executed electoral fraud.

We will communicate the outcome of our study of the NEC’s decision in due course. Meanwhile, all SLPP members are advised to stay calm and remaining peaceful. (END).

Responding to NEC’s decision to cancel the results, Alhaji Dr. Osman Foday Yansaneh – National Secretary General of the opposition APC party, blames supporters of the opposition SLPP for the destruction of the polling station at Angola Town.

He told the people of Sierra Leone and the international community, that his party “condemns the decision of the National Electoral Commission to cancel the 24th August re-run elections in Constituency 110 in the Western Area”.

Writing in a press statement issued yesterday Monday 26 August, 2019, Alhaji Dr. Osman Foday Yansaneh said:

The All Peoples Congress (APC) Party has received with utter dismay and disappointment the Press Release from the Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) cancelling the results of the 24th August 2019 re-run elections in Constituency 110 that was won by the APC.

This action by the NEC Chairperson is the highest degree of provocation and injustice and the APC will explore all options available to us to ensure that such gross abuse of power and disenfranchisement of our peaceful and law-abiding members is not allowed to continue unchecked in Sierra Leone.

All Sierra Leoneans that monitored the conduct of the elections before and during the conduct of the polls witnessed the most extreme forms of intimidation and harassment of our supporters by elements of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).

All objective observers would attest to the fact that it was supporters of the APC that were the victims. It was also a fact that it was thugs from the SLPP led by a renowned thug nicknamed “Arata” that went on the rampage across the Constituency during polling day reaching its climax at the Sarah Modern School Polling Centre in Angola Town.

Regrettably, these attacks by SLPP thugs were done under the watchful eyes of the Sierra Leone Police and Military Officers.

Sadly, even though the police under the leadership of AIG Sovulla were kept duly informed by the leadership of the APC, instead of apprehending the perpetrator of the violence, it was Hon. Abdul Kargbo of the APC (head of the APC polling staff at the Centre) that was illegally arrested and detained at the Lumley Police Station.

This followed the arbitrary arrest from the polling lines and subsequent detention of peaceful APC supporters that had gone to the polling center to exercise their electoral franchise. To climax it all, the NEC has now, without the legal authority to do so, cancelled the results and called for a re-run.

Sierra Leoneans (at home and abroad) and the international community would agree with us that the APC has exercised the highest degree of restraint against all odds and all forms of intimidation and threats all in an effort to sustain our much-needed peace and tranquillity.

It is now apparent that NEC in cohort with the SLP are bent on reversing the peace and democratic gains that we have all laboured to nurture and sustain.

The APC wishes to emphatically make it known that we shall not accept the verdict of NEC to illegally cancel the results that we have been able to win at huge costs to our Party, and we call on the international community and all peace-loving and patriotic Sierra Leoneans to bring pressure to bear on NEC to reverse their arbitrary decision in the best interest of peace and stability in our beloved Sierra Leone. (END).

Once again, questions are being asked as to why the police remained passive when thugs were destroying those polling materials in front of their very eyes, without making any arrest.

Is Sierra Leone police a force for good, or an accessory to a rotten political system driven by corrupt politicians?

The international community has been swift in condemning the violence that took place at the polls last Saturday. This is a statement issued collectively by the British High Commission, the Delegation of the European Union, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Embassy of the Republic of Ireland, and the Embassy of the United States:

 

5 Comments

  1. Alusine Fallay, na so u hypocrite? You know very well that government sanctioned thugs were the ones causing mayhem. As if that was not bad enough, they were getting moral support from the police and government officials. A minister was on the scene. What was he doing there, and why didn’t he tell people to stop? Why were the police not doing anything? I get that our police buff lek wetin, but they were not inclined to do anything because the party in power was causing the carnage.

    From the last election, when Bio was going on about his paopa ways, ignoring police orders, blocking the streets by law courts, etc, I knew it would be very bad for our country if this coupist became president again. Despite all the lies you want to tell to change minds, we live in the era of instant video. With all the cell phones that are out there, so you can not dispute the facts. APCers are under fear of the police, they are not out and about causing mayhem, so stop your lies.

    We know who some of the perpetrators are. How come they have not been arrested? I’m guessing they are still running around raray borbor/paopa style because they have impunity. Our country just keeps getting worse. Backwardness does not even begin to describe this. Hopefully, good can come out of this in that the APC, which was behaving just as badly as this with the last administration, can see the country will not go forward if each party in power keeps repeating the cycle. Leh God ep we.

  2. Based on reports from the National Election Watch (NEW) representative on Radio Democracy 98.1 this morning, he clearly stated that a Member of Parliament (MP) from the APC party, whom I believe was part of the first parliamentary rampage by the APC, the parliamentary walkout and also the rampage that took place at the APC party office after this previous election was annulled by the high court, was representing his party at the polling station.

    There is a possibility that the leadership for life of the APC party assigned this MP to tamper with voting materials since this is their so-called stronghold which in my opinion is a bogus claimbecause out of 97% of votes counted, there was only 174 difference.

    When the APC party realizes that margin is not encouraging, there is a possibility that they applied one of their 99 tactics to win an election which is intimidation and violence with the hope that the NEC boss will cancel the results of that polling station; and they will eventually win by 174 votes which is ironic, because they won the cancelled election by 2,250 votes.

    The NEW representative even stated that the APC MP was arrested before the rampage started and was in police custody which I hope will be thoroughly investigated . If the SLPP was a violence party why did they peacefully protested when voters names where missing with three alphabets including K for Kamara which is one of the most popular names in our nation, but thankfully NEC corrected that mistake and extended the closing time in those voting stations by 2 hours?

    Accusing the security of incompetence for not stopping citizens from driving a vehicle with “ PAOPA” stickers is synonymous with telling the Americans police to arrest any citizen that drive a pickup truck around Washington DC with an America flag that have “ MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN “ which is common in many states.

    I hope we start giving our security apparatus some credit because even in the US which can boast of the best security, are still unable to stop some violent criminals to run over their opponents with vehicle, or stopping a sniper from killing 6 police officers in a peaceful demonstration and even stopping white supremacists from killing innocent minorities.

    Finally , what is always unique about those incidents that lives were lost is the President and the Americans always thanked the police for their timely intervention by saving more lives as compared to Sierra Leone; even in a bye election where no Killing occurred but we are bashing our security apparatuses because they supposed to be perfect and supermen. May the Almighty continue help our nation.

  3. What I was concerned about during this whole episode was the state of our hard earned DEMOCRACY. With the intervention of the embassies in Freetown, I am somewhat relieved. Maybe, they will help shape things. It’s time to tone down the RHETORIC and move on to other important issues.

    Also, I hope our leaders both in government and the opposition will sit together and sort out this DISGRACEFUL MESS. We will never sell our DEMOCRACY which is the BACKBONE of the existence of our beloved SIERRA LEONE to UNSCRUPULOUS POLITICIANS.

    Thanks to The Sierra Leone Telegraph for giving us the opportunity to express our FRUSTRATIONS and ANGER in defending our DEMOCRACY. EN WE DO AM. WE NOR GO GREE FOR WE DEMOCRACY. GOD BLESS THE SIERRA LEONE TELEGRAPH.

  4. It is rather unfortunate for the APC party to make confusing allegations against security personnel which is pretty obvious that they keep disputing their own facts that the rampage was caused by “Arata“ and the same APC representatives are also disputing that claim that it was a government minister. Official statement should be based on facts and not propaganda from social media and any credible political party with good intentions should wait for the investigation instead of jumping to conclusion.

    Based on the past statements that they have made against the NEC Commissioner I’m personally not surprised by the statement they just made against him. Since the APC party lost the 2018 presidential election they are still waiting for the right time and circumstances to arise when they can make the country ungovernable which was the promise of their presidential candidate Dr. Samura Kamara.

    And we have seen theft of the laptop of one of the judges of the COI, the rampage of the office of a judge whose life had been previously threatened by some APC operatives, the destruction of properties by their supporters and now there is a possibility that they are also responsible for this rampage, because investigators always based their clues on continued patterns and utterances.

    I hope and pray that all parties will follow the advice of the international community because we can only progress through dialogue.

  5. Any doofus will be able to tell you that the statement released by the SLPP is nothing but a worthless, fabricated, distorted piece of garbage, riddled with shocking lies and deceits, like the body of a dead man, brutally pelted and laced from head to toe with bullet wounds.

    Indeed,just as dead men, become virtually useless, and of no value whatsoever to anyone,so also is their stinking, fishy, rotten, delusional statement. Ask yourself again – why did the Police look quietly away, and not maintain and restore order? And why were they not there fully prepared in overwhelming numbers to ensure that a peaceful election was conducted until its eventual end? Strange.

    The Sierra Leone Police are now guilty of aiding and abetting the commission of crimes against the law abiding people of Sierra Leone. All those involved deserve to languish and rot in jail. But then again, I am not surprised at all, to see that the Police have overnight been transformed by the wave of a magic wand from State House, intent on practicing and forcefully introducing merciless, despicable Nazi ideology, in our fragile, tender-hearted, beloved Sierra Leone.

    “Gestapo” tactics – the encouragement of anarchy, mindless brutality and lawlessness in order to achieve their desired ultimate goals is their focus, single priority and main objective. Who would have ever thought, the world’s worst Criminal, Adolf Hitler would someday have a multitude of miscreant followers and a rogue, lawbreaking Pot Belly leader in Sierra Leone who greatly emulates, appreciates and adores him?

    It is clear to me, the APC won the Bye Election and we will not accept any other fraudulent decisions from the NEC, intentionally designed to blatantly rob and disenfranchise our supporters by this erratic, malfeasant, criminal SLPP government, now in power.

    Criminals they are, no doubt – but no cause for alarm, because the APC is well versed and knowledgeable in the Art of teaching these tribalistic scoundrels, hard and bitter lessons that they will forever remember in their wretched lives. It is entirely up to them – the ball is now in their Court.

    Let the mischief makers be advised, they must now tread softly, because we will become as mirrors, reflecting all their actions, good and bad – if they try to promote peace and harmony, so also will we – mirrors we will become!

    But if stupidly, lawlessly and ignorantly they attempt to create, and use tactics of discord,and violence against us, then also our actions will reflect their own, that will be frightening enough, to shatter all mirrors to pieces…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

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