Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 December 2020:
Sources close to the Chief Electoral Commissioner of Sierra Leone has tonight confirmed to the Sierra Leone Telegraph that the hotly contested re-run election in the Freetown constituency 110 in the far west of the city which took place yesterday Saturday 12th December 2020, has been won by the opposition All People’s Congress Party (APC).
According to provisional results which are expected to be confirmed tomorrow by the National Electoral Commission (NEC), the APC candidate – Kadijatu Davies polled 9,354 – 51.73% of the total votes cast, with Josephine Jackson – the ruling SLPP candidate taking 8,729 votes – 48.27%.
Speaking also tonight to the Sierra Leone Telegraph, the opposition APC politician – Dr Sylvia Blyden said: “Kadie Davies has been Certified in a 10-page document by the District Returning Officer for Western Rural District. The document lists all the 145 Polling Stations and the number polled by each candidate in all 145 and then gives the total which is precisely the one I announced last night from the NEC Tallying Center.
“Subsequent to that, Miatta French in a 2 paged document has also certified the numbers as accurate and correct with Kadie Davies as winner with those percentages. We now waiting for the Chief Electoral Commissioner to announce but he says he has been petitioned by the SLPP for him to do a recount.” Blyden confidently said.
The mood tonight in the APC party camp is one of jubilation and hope of the party now turning its fortunes around after a narrow 3% defeat by the SLPP party to clinch the presidential election in 2018.
Alpha Jalloh – APC Western Area Regional Secretary, said: “Indeed it has been a long and turbulent road which makes this victory much sweeter. On behalf of our Chairman Capt. Momodu Pat Sowe and our Ag. Chairman Hon Chernor Bah, I want to sincerely thank all members of the APC party who participated, campaigned, contributed and worked tirelessly in ensuring Hon Kadie Davies is elected to parliament for the third time. Special thanks to our polling agents, we appreciate you guys. The Region’s campaign team and executive, this could not have happened without all your hardwork and dedication. Above all we give all glory and praise to God. In the struggles of APC there is victory”
A statement published this evening by the APC party reads: “The All People’s Congress (APC) Western Area Regional Deputy Chairman, Hon Chernor R.M Bah and the Regional Executive want to extend thanks and appreciation to the people of constituency 110 for believing in the APC by voting in Hon. Khadijatu Davies as their representative in Parliament for the third time in three years.
“We also take the opportunity to thank all State Actors for their professionalism in the conduct of this particular election. Most especially we thank NEC, the Sierra Leone Police and ONS for ensuring that the process was conducted in a peaceful manner.
“Indeed, we also thank Madam Josephine Jackson, the Sierra Leone Peoples Party and their supporters for accepting the will of the people. We assure them that Hon. Khadi Davies will represent all citizens of Constituency 110 alike.
“The leadership of the APC Western Region wants to assure all citizens of Constituency 110 that they will continue to do their utmost in protecting their votes and safeguarding their democratic will as expressed in the ballot box.
“We and all Sierra Leoneans look forward to the prompt certification and announcement of the results on Monday December 14, 2020, by the National Electoral Commission which is the body charged with this independent responsibility.
“We also express our appreciation to NEW, the Conflict Prevention Management Committee, other Civil Society and the Media as well as all the other entities who observed this free, fair and transparent process. Particular thanks to the European Union Delegation who witnessed the tallying process at NEC District Offices, as well as the rest of the International Observers.
“As a Region, we are pleased to be able to have demonstrated that the All Peoples Congress holds dear the values of democracy in nation building and that we will never abdicate our responsibility to our fellow citizens to provide them with a governance alternative.”
But was the Constituency 110 re-run election free and fair?
Chief Executive of the Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI), Mr. Abdul Fatoma, said that the peaceful character of Saturday’ re-run election in Constituency 110, even though some party supporters created some tension, cannot be overemphasised, describing it as a success worth emulating.
Mr. Fatoma said that as a member of the Elections Conflict Prevention and Mediation Working Group (ECPMWG), his organisation wants to appreciate the two candidates for cooperating with the ECPMWG, which is constituted by the Inter Religious Council, Eminent Women Peace Mediators Sierra Leone (EWPMSL) and The Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI).
Mr. Fatoma went on to say that three weeks ago, their first task was to meet with political party leaders and candidates for both the parliamentary elections and Headman elections in the Western Area of Sierra Leone, adding that two teams, one led by CHRDI, successfully engaged the candidates and their political party leadership, and met with all the candidates for the Headman elections
“Elections are an important mechanism in democratic and peace processes. Their purpose is to provide citizens with an opportunity to freely choose their political party leaders and allocate power peacefully. However, tensions in society, human error and high stakes competition can also result in violent, fraudulent Elections. Impunity for political and electoral officials is seen as an important factor that contributed to the violent outcomes of the 2018-2019 elections but this did not happen this time because of our timely intervention” he emphasised.
Fatoma said Elections in and of themselves do not constitute democracy and emphasised that it would be unfortunate to confuse the end with the means and to forget that democracy implies far more than the mere act of periodically casting a vote, but covers the entire process of participation by citizens in the political life of their country
“They are not an end but a step, albeit an important and often essential one on the path towards the democratization of societies and the realisation of the right to take part in the governance of one’s country as enunciated in major international human rights instruments” he continued.
Abdul Fatoma concluded that the ECPMWG, an initiative of the new National Electoral Commission (NEC) Chairman, Mr. Mohamed Kenewui Konneh, seeks to contribute to the reduction and mitigation of community level conflict and insecurity during elections and identify strategic approaches that can help prevent violence which usually follow elections especially in post-war democracies, adding that It does this by investing in initiatives that address key drivers of conflict and insecurity. (Video showing the wife of the president – Mrs Fatima Bio, dancing on the eve of election in constituency 110).
The ruling SLPP also suffered a big loss in a by-election in the north of the country – in the district of Karene where the opposition APC won by over 60% of the total votes polled.
And in the ruling party’s political southern heartland, the opposition APC also gave SLPP a run for their money in Bo and Moyamba contrary to the ninety plus percent the SLPP were confident of winning.
With just twelve days to Christmas, President Julius Maada Bio and senior executives of the ruling SLPP are tonight reflecting on the declining electoral capital gained by the party in 2018 which by all accounts are now being lost.
Reasons for SLPP to be worried – they have this weekend lost two major elections, with the government’s poor performance in managing the economy, as well as its inability to make good on promises to increase access to electricity and clean water supply across the country.
The people of Sierra Leone it seems are increasingly getting fed up with the poor performance of the Bio-led government. And if the government continues on the same path, SLPP will surely lose the 2023 elections.
Will president Bio reshuffle his cabinet now to get rid of the dead wood within his government?