Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 July 2023:
President Bio did not win the presidential election, clear and simple. This has been proven by the country’s elections watchdog – National Elections Watch (NEW) along with figures compiled by international election observers present at polling stations across the country.
Since announcing the results of the elections, the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL), have been called upon by the main opposition APC party and the international community to publish the disaggregated results of all polling stations to show that president Bio won the election. But the ECSL for some very strange reason, other that covering up their fraudulent track, are refusing to publish all polling station result forms signed by political parties, polling station agents, returning officers and certified election observers.
Today, the European Union Office in Sierra Leone have congratulated President Tinubu of Nigeria, who controversially was declared winner of Nigeria’s presidential election two months ago, after the country’s electoral commission bungled polling results that are now being contested by the opposition in the courts.
In its statement, the EU Office in Sierra Leone said that: “The EU looks forward to further strengthening our collaboration and to working together for regional peace, security, and prosperity.”
Supporters of the ruling SLPP in Sierra Leone have been quick in saying to the EU that if it can find it fitting to congratulate President Tinubu, they should also do the same for President Bio.
But Sierra Leone’s case is more complex. The EU Office is among a large group of Western countries that have issued statements rejecting the results of Sierra Leone’s presidential and general elections. They are calling on the electoral body to publish all certified polling station results to ensure transparency and integrity.
The EU and Western countries are refusing to acknowledge Julus Maada Bio’s presidency until such time that the ECSL complies with this simple and reasonable request.
What is the ECSL afraid of? What are they hiding?
Meanwhile, President Bio and his ruling SLPP have not only criticised National Elections Watch (NEW) for contradicting the results announced by the ECSL but have gone so far as to condemn the executives of NEW, accusing NEW of forming allies with Western countries to destabilise the country – allegations that NEW and the international community have strongly refutted.
NEW are standing by their refusal to accept the results of the 2023 elections, based on their analysis of certified polling station results.
The National Democratic Institute (NDI) have joined the condemnation of the Bio government. They have published a statement endorsing NEW’s methodology and basis upon which NEW has concluded that Julius Maada Bio did not win the presidential election.
It is statement, NDI said: “The National Democratic Institute (NDI) has been closely following the post-election environment in Sierra Leone and the views and reactions to the Process and Results Verification for Transparency (PRVT, previously known as PVT) methodology used by National Elections Watch (NEW) for the 2023 elections.
“Specifically, some commentators alleged that NEW’s PRVT failed to “meet NDI standards” on this methodology. NDI provided technical assistance to NEW, a coalition of hundreds of Sierra Leonean organizations founded in 2001, in conducting its PRVT and is fully confident that it was conducted properly. The PRVT is a well established methodology to promote accurate election results that has been used repeatedly around the world and across Africa since the 1980s.
“NDI has worked for over two decades with Sierra Leoneans from across the political spectrum as well as from civil society to strengthen the country’s democratic institutions and advance more inclusive, transparent and accountable elections. NDI is the global leader in supporting citizen observers to employ the PRVT methodology.
“The Institute has supported independent and non-partisan civic organizations, including NEW, to conduct more than 170 PRVTs in more than 50 countries around the world. Specifically, NDI has provided technical assistance to African organizations that have conducted more than 35 PRVTs in 10 African countries.
“As part of its overall observation effort, NEW used the PRVT methodology to provide systematic information on the conduct of voting and counting and to independently and impartially assess the accuracy of the official results as announced by the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL).
“The PRVT results projections are based on the official results announced at each of the polling stations by ECSL officials at the close of counting. The PRVT sample and calculations were made in strict accordance with widely accepted statistical principles. NEW employed the same PRVT methodology in 2023 as it used, without controversy, for the 2018 presidential election.
“NDI regrets that Sierra Leonean citizens who organized themselves to observe their elections under the umbrella coalition of NEW are now subject to harassment and personal attacks. The Institute notes that United Nations Special Rapporteurs consider election observers like NEW as human rights defenders who therefore should be afforded all the same protections. The United Nations Special Rapporteurs explicitly urged Member States to “take all necessary steps to establish conditions that allow national and international election observers to effectively do their work, and to protect them from any violence, threats, retaliation… as a consequence of their legitimate exercise of their rights and freedoms.”
“Based on NDI’s global experience and drawing from best practices from other African countries that also adhere to the open election data principles, the Institute agrees with recommendations by the European Union Election Observation Mission, the Carter Center, NEW and others who have called on the ECSL to release polling station level results to the public.
“Releasing these results would enhance transparency and accountability, which is essential for public confidence in the declared outcome. NDI calls on the leadership and members of the two major political parties — the SLPP and APC — and other political parties to refrain from actions and declarations that can further polarize Sierra Leonean society, and take concrete steps to safeguard the country’s peace and democracy.”
Responding to this statement from the NDI, the US Ambassador Reimer to Sierra Leone, said in a Twitter post that: “This statement from the National Democratic Institute (NDI) is worth reading in its entirety,” suggesting that the US government is in no hurry to endorse the ECSL results nor congratulate Julius Maada Bio as president.
What has also become apparent is the very dangerous and unprecedented role played by the wife of President Bio – Fatima Jabbie Bio, in creating and promoting an atmosphere of fear and violence against the main opposition APC throughout the ruling SLPP southeastern stronghold of the country.
This abuse of power of incumbency and her insatiable appetite for violence and terror, made it impossible for opposition parties, especially the APC to peacefully and freely campaign and contest the election in ruling party strongholds, where the ECSL published results show not a single seat won by the APC or any other opposition party.
The Siera Leone Telegraph is calling for all results of elections held in parts of the southeast where there is evidence of the wife of the president calling for opposition parties not to be allowed to have offices in those areas, to be nullified.
Elections in Sierra Leone must by law and the country’s constitution be conducted freely, fairly and without intimidation, violence and tribal hatred. Those who promoted such acts must be brought to justice, whether now or in the future.
This video shows Fatima Bio – wife of the president telling SLPP supporters that APC should not be allowed to have offices in “these parts” (the South East). Within days of making this call to supporters – APC Party offices in Segbewema and Pujehun were badly vandalized, and the APC Party Office in Bo was burned down. There are also video evidence showing heavily armed members of the security forces celebrating with ruling SLPP supporters:
Opposition APC party office burned in Bo:
Heavily armed Security forces and SLPP leaders intimidate the opposition: