SLPP midterm elections defeat – an unwelcome Christmas present for president Bio

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?

6 Comments

  1. it is obvious Freetown is a swing state; majority vote APC not SLPP. Freetown loved late PA SIAKA and Akibo. So no political party will defeat APC; and however Freetown is not far from the north; we all know who are the majority in the north; of course our brothers we love the temne local tribe. God bless Sierra Leone and protect the minority ethnics of this nation.

  2. Congratulations to Khadijatu Davies for her election victory. Thanks to the Almighty, this time around constituency 110 conducted a free and fair election without any violence which is the only way to win a credible election. I personally believe that the new direction government and the judiciary have sent a clear message to the APC that even in your POLITICAL STRONGHOLD, intimidation and violence are unacceptable. The days of violence which is one of the 99 tactics of the destructive APC party in winning an election is finally over.

    The reality is Constituency 110 has always been a APC stronghold and winning by only 3% should be a concern for them. Imagine 2023 presidential elections, when the SLPP will be winning overwhelmingly by 90% in their strongholds in the South Eastern parts of the country and the APC winning by less than 10% in the most populated western area, that will definitely be a resounding victory for the SLPP based on the fact that majority carries the votes.

    Winning by 3% is an indication that constituency 110 is no longer a APC stronghold but a battleground comes 2023 when most of the New Direction government’s development programs will be completed. The bye election in Karene district which was created by the past APC government by redrawing the map for parliamentary advantage should also be a concern for the APC based on the fact that the SLPP is also making inroads in that region. Thankfully, the SLPP candidate Josephine Jackson has already called and congratulated Kadijatu Davies which is an indication of peace, stability and respect for our free and fair democratic process without any threat or violence.

  3. Yeah. Things are going as planned. The Bio SLPP kakistocracy, representing the SLPP party by proxy, have their BUTTS kicked out of constituency 110. Have they packed their bags and vacated the constituency? Slowly but surely, the road to victory and taking the presidency home is nigh. The rascal construction of the Funkia road and handing over billions of con allowances to the people of Funkia did not help. The dictator and his concubines had their butts kicked out of APC territory. There should be elections in those 10 seats handed over to the SLPP. Period. God bless the APC Leader – Dr Ernest Bai Koroma, the Hon Khadi Davies and of course, the mighty, indomitable and Legendary APC. TBC.

  4. No one should be surprised that APC won constituency 110. The Western area has always been dominated by them. Had the by-election gone smoothly the first time there was a high likelihood that NGC would have won it, but SLPP’s “arata “ and others disrupted the process. It’s quite possible that voters in the constituency still haboured anger against SLPP for that violent disruption and decided to teach SLPP a lesson.

    The lesson is much broader and deeper than some of us may think. It encompasses the whole nation that in the 2023 elections a clear victor may not emerge for the presidency, divided as the country is tribalistically and regionally . Outside of Freetown the north is no longer a solid APC stronghold – NGC has made sure of that. As reported by The Telegraph, SLPP are also shaky in their stronghold of the south south/southeast. This outlook suggests that 2023 is beginning to show uncanny features of the 1967 general elections minus the possibility of a military takeover, a move which was to set the background for the demise of Brigadier David Lansana, the first indigenous commander of the Sierra Leone army.

    President Bio still has time to reverse the fortunes of his party despite the loss at constituency 110. It’s not yet time for him to send out a May Day message but time for him to marshal his forces in readiness for an outright assault in which there’s no such a thing as retreat. First, he has to reshuffle his cabinet and get rid of those who say yes to him all the time. Secondly he has to start applying common sense Economics which will bring smiles to the average Sierra Leonean. Thirdly he should mount a campaign to demonstrate to us that all monies being squeezed out of the former regime of Earnest Koroma are being used to mitigate the suffering of Sierra Leoneans. He should cap all of this by travelling less and use the money of hiring a private jet to order some foodstuffs to bring down prices.

  5. We cannot keep holding elections until you get the desired results. The people of constituency 110 in the western area of our great city Freetown, have spoken not for the first time, and I think their voices should be respected. 51% for Mrs Davies versus 48% for Mrs Jackson, is not a landside victory by any stretch of the imagination. Now, Mrs Davies should step up the plate and represent everyone. Whether you voted for her or the SLPP candidate Mrs Jackson. Taken all together , the vote is a reaffirmation of a victory, and what was rightly hers in the first ballot, before it all went haywire, with the courts getting involved. It has been a long and winding route to get where we got today. Its not only a victory for her, but a victory for democracy and common sense.

    Although these are local elections, one cannot ignore the poor performance of Bio’s government. The buck stops with him. He has to take responsibility for what took place and stop looking around for scapegoats. His policies and promises have not inspired confidence for voters in constituency 110 to trust Mrs Jackson will deliver anything that will change their lives. This bye election is like an early warning system about the tsunami of what lies ahead. Bio needs to change course or else 2023 is hidden around the corner.

    • This should not be a jubilation for APC. But time to mourn,they should say bravo to Josephine Jackson because for her to get such a number in a strong APC hold is a merit to her, and a progress for SLPP

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