Dr. Sama Banya
21 August 2012
A colleague asked me last week whether I now trusted Christiana Thorpe – the chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to conduct transparent, free, fair and credible elections in Sierra Leone next November.
Recently, I announced that I had made up my mind to be at peace with the Electoral Commission’s chief – Christiana Thorpe.
In the announcement, I expressed the hope that she would conduct the elections in a transparent manner, and more importantly, I warned her NOT TO ROB US OF THE RESULTS AS SHE DID IN 2007. And I meant it.
But the ink had hardly dried from that article, when in collusion with the APC leadership, she dropped the bombshell on nomination fees for the November Presidential, Parliamentary and local government elections.
As if that was not an enough and dangerous move, she attempted to deceive the nation on two related outcomes of her announcement, both of which were blatant lies, deliberately concocted to fool the Sierra Leonean public.
The first was that the highly disproportional increase in nomination fees, was necessitated by a huge shortfall in the projected budget for the electoral exercise, government subvention and very liberal donor funding notwithstanding.
The fact of the matter is that there is NO SHORTFALL in NEC’s revenue for the elections.
Next, she lied about the comparative nomination fees for Parliamentary elections within the West African sub-region.
Here she also lied, because comparative figures reveal that in both Africa and in the United Kingdom and in the United States, the fees are much lower than what she is proposing in Sierra Leone.
Even in our sister African Republic of Kenya, where Members of Parliament receive salaries of Ten Thousand United States Dollars a month, the nomination fee is only a fraction of what she was suggesting for Sierra Leone.
In spite of the universal hue and cry, with the exception of the ruling APC and their satellite the UDM, she has only made modest reductions.
As someone has suggested, Christiana Thorpe by her action, has demonstrated that she either wants a Parliament of aristocratic ‘Haves’ or a one party APC Parliament.
Once again I exhort the Members of Sierra Leone’s Parliament to reject her proposals in their entirety.
The NEC chairman has deviated from laid down practice, which was transparent and logical in sequence. That is; following the registration of voters in the country, the NEC would publish a ‘PROVISIONAL VOTERS REGISTER’.
This should necessarily give the opportunity for voters to scrutinize and call attention to any anomalies in the register. It should also confirm to intending candidates, the wards in which they are registered.
It is common knowledge that in spite of the biometric voter registration, there are blanks in many of the lists; that is, there are no registered names in them. Then there is the other list, which allegedly contains all the details.
Instead of Christiana Thorpe displaying the registered voter list for inspection, she is asking political parties to submit the names of prospective candidates.
What is there to stop Ms. Thorpe from switching the names of the candidates, so that in the end, such candidates would discover that their names may be in a different ward to the one in which they originally registered?
What is her reason for the shroud of secrecy, if it is not to enable her to perform her “yuki yuki?”
It is also the law that candidates, who have been nominated by political parties, can only withdraw their nomination after the stipulated time through their party.
But Christiana Thorpe’s directive to her staff is that, once a registered candidate withdraws and if there is only one other contestant, then he or she is declared returned unopposed.
While an independent candidate may withdraw at any time, it is not the same for a party nominated candidate. So why is the lady bending the rules and creating an opportunity for the ruling APC to gain an illegal electoral advantage?
It appears to me that she may well be aware that she would, on no account be allowed to fiddle with the results this time as she did in 2007, and has therefore in connivance with the ruling party, now determined to sell this nation to the APC and plunge the country into chaos.
She does not need to be reminded that the people would not at this moment in time, standby and let a former failed woman of God, screw them with their own fat.
The result would be to throw the country into turmoil – reminiscent of the rebel war.
This is the kind of warning that the misguided publisher of a pro APC propaganda newspaper describes as incitement.
Incitement my foot! From the forgoing the answer to my friend’s question is that: I DO NOT TRUST CHRISTIANA THORPE, Period!