Thursday, 22 November 2012

IF YOU HAVE ANY COMPLAINTS -GO TO THE POLICE

POST ELECTION UPDATES.
 LEH DEN GO POLICE. ALL TIN DON DON (IT'S ALL OVER)


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dr. Sylvia Blyden Educates SLPP Groit Dr. Kelfala Kallon

Invalidating Votes & 2012 Electoral Laws: A Rebuttal to Kelfala Kallon

By Sylvia Olayinka Blyden

Our learned professor, Dr. Kelfala Kallon I have read your lengthy piece entitled as “The “World’s Best” or Just Small Time Crooks?” published on NEW PEOPLE NEWSPAPER in which you try to mock my current standing. Let me upfront assure you that your informants are busy feeding you a whole load of JUNK! I feel so sorry to see an otherwise credible person like yourself be reduced to repeating junk as facts. Anyway, it will not be long now for you to learn the truth. You go learn!
Now, I am writing to educate you a little bit on the powers given to Dr. Christiana Thorpe which you make much mention of, in your article. However, before I do so, let me cast your mind back to what Thorpe said back in September 2007 whilst she was announcing that she had invalidated votes for 477 polling stations in SLPP strongholds. She had said that, even if she had not deducted the nullified void votes, SLPP’s Solomon Berewa would not have won. She then said, in line with international best practise, since the voiding of the votes in those stations would not make any difference in who will win, there was no need to conduct a re-run of those elections. She had said that if the voiding of those votes, had changed the results so that it changed who won and who lost, then she would have been forced to re-run the elections in those areas.

This is what she had said on 17th September 2012:

There is one important element to highlight: international election standards say that the invalidation of votes does not require a repeat of the polling exercise if the act of invalidation does not affect the outcome of the poll. The National Electoral Commission can confirm that in the case of 8 September poll these invalidations have NOT affected the outcome of the election.

In other words, what she said back then was that even if she had not deducted the votes from those 477 polling stations, Ernest Bai Koroma would still have won albeit with a slimmer victory margin. So, whether or not those votes were nullified, SLPP would have still lost the presidency! As to whether she was mathematically right or wrong, I will prefer not to delve into for now. In this article, what I will delve into for your edification is the powers which were granted to her this year by the Elections Act passed in Parliament.

The 2012 Elections Act gives Dr. Christiana Thorpe the power to nullify results (invalidate votes) from any station guilty of fraudulent over-voting. The Act goes on to state that if such nullification will change the pattern of the final results, then a re-run of the elections SHALL be conducted (I repeat, SHALL be conducted). However, if such nullification does not affect the final results, then no re-run should be conducted at those stations. Obviously, you have not read the 2012 Act hence you are displaying an embarrassingly gross IGNORANCE!

If you read the 2012 Elections Act, then you will learn that it says:

  • “If the votes cast at an election are more than the number of registered voters, the result will be declared null and void by the Electoral Commission and another election conducted at another date to be fixed by the Commission, if the results affect the overall result in the electoral area. But if the result will not affect the overall result, then no election will be conducted”.

This your ignorance of the 2012 Act is why you write:

  • I am confident, however, that after her agency carefully examines all the evidence that the SLPP have presented, she will conclude that over-voting did take place (with impunity, I might add) in most polling stations in the Western Area, the Northern Province, and Kono. She would then be forced by both the law and her conscience to annul all votes in the affected polling stations. And if after such annulments, Maada Bio ends up with 55 percent or more of the valid votes, she would have to follow the precedent she set in 2007 by declaring him the duly elected president of Sierra Leone. (Enti nah void bring Ernest cam, nah void for kerram go!)

Let us, for argument sake, accept your wild claims of ‘over-voting’ in APC support areas. After now learning what the 2012 Electoral Laws actually state as against the nonsense you are peddling about annulments automatically making Maada Bio to be winner, I am sure you will now come to the realisation that you are simply misleading yourself into a false sense of euphoria over a victory that can never happen in Sierra Leone.

A lying, ‘collective responsibility’ mass-murdering, corrupt despot like Maada Bio cannot be able to fool all the people all the time. Yes, he has fooled many; mostly along tribal lines, but he has not been able to hoodwink everyone which is why President Koroma is headed for a landslide victory despite all the carefully orchestrated games of the opposition operatives including their hijacking of the media landscape.

The DANGER though, as I have highlighted with the ‘cherry-picked’ secret SLPP emails from the TAMU listserv computers, is that such misinformation will falsely raise the hopes of your SLPP supporters and make them more pliant to wreck havoc on the country. That, is the most heartless action I have ever seen from a politician. You SLPP academics, despite all your education, are just a wicked bunch of desperados ready to plunge this country into violence and un-rest but the good Lord has already stripped your plans stark naked and it will NEVER come to pass.

Professor Kelfala Kallon, indeed you continue to be my good compatriot but I will henceforth hesitate to use the term “good friend” when describing my relationship with you. It now crystal clear that your morals, sense of justice and ethics in practising patriotism and nationalism, are quite different from mine. You are happy to defend a self-confessed ‘collective responsibility’ murderer whose Joint Criminal Enterprise led to the murders of dozens of innocent persons including a pregnant woman. You wave off reprehensible acts of corrupt squirreling of State funds after larceny of them. The list of why Julius Maada Bio should never have been countenanced as presidential material is so long that I can only shake my head at SLPP presenting him to us.

How can I share friendship with such a person who changes the goal posts to suit his defence of a Bio candidature? It would be difficult to share a friendship with you sir. Every fibre of my being will kick against it. In the meantime, can I please appeal to you, in the name of God Almighty, to STOP misleading SLPP youths that they stand any chance of winning the Presidency?

In the name of God, STOP THIS MADNESS! Your claims of electoral fraud are all junk with no credibility to them! The children of Sierra Leone have suffered too much; the women do not want war; the old men are tired of war. No one wants war in Sierra Leone again. No more hindo-hindo or ndorgborwusu or RUF freedom fighter business. Ee do so bo!

The full text of Christiana Thorpe’s Statement to the Media of 17 September 2007 follows down below. I trust it edifies you. Good day to you sir.

*******************

National Electoral Commission (NEC)

15 Industrial Estates, Wellington, Freetown, Sierra Leone

Statement from NEC Chairperson

NEC Statement to the Media – 17 September 2007

At our last briefing, we informed the media and the public that the National Electoral Commission (NEC) would undertake a series of investigations and recounts in order to finalize the results of the presidential election run-off. We are happy to report today that the Commission undertook the field work during the period established and is ready today to present its findings. We at NEC are satisfied with the verification process which was undertaken, and are very confident that the official results we are about to announce are indeed those recorded in the polling stations and accurately reflect the will of the voters.

Nevertheless, it is with regret that we report that, despite all the measures taken to hinder electoral malpractices, there were instances where malpractice and fraud were attempted. The system we have instituted at NEC makes it difficult for fraud to be successfully undertaken, but it cannot completely stop those who are intent on manipulating the results from actually trying. This is the reason why NEC needed to be careful with the tallying of results. We are pleased that we have been able to detect malpractices and have taken appropriate remedial action to limit the influence which such acts would otherwise have.

For example, during the verification process we discovered counterfeit results forms which were sent to NEC from polling stations throughout the country. It was not difficult to detect them as they contained a spelling mistake in the title, the word ‘form’ was spelled ‘from’. Three such cases were identified at polling centres 07131 in Port Loko, 11153 in Moyamba and 13056 in Western Rural. The Commission responded by recovering the original forms issued to the stations that contained the true and accurate results. These were then entered into the tally.

There were also attempts at ballot stuffing and ballot-box swapping, but they were detected thanks to the measures put in place and the investigations conducted. Additionally, through the recounting process undertaken with party agents and observers, we were able to either confirm results or uncover various anomalies which were then addressed to accurately reflect the poll.

As reported earlier, the Commission noted polling station results with turn-outs of over 100%. It is impossible for voter turnout in excess of 100% to have taken place without fraud or illegal action. The Commission has been left with no option but to invalidate all results from polling stations reporting over 100% turnout. In all, 477 stations across the country have thus been invalidated, as follows: Kailahun:90, Kenema:65, Kono:9, Bombali:17, Kambia:8, Koinadugu:12, Port-Loko:2, Tonkolili:6, Bo:123, Bonthe:2, Moyamba:24, Pujehun:113, Western Rural:1 and Western Urban:5.

It is extremely regrettable to have to invalidate even a single polling station, and it is a decision that the NEC did not take lightly. However, the responsibility for the act of invalidation falls on those who are responsible for the malpractices, it is they who should be held accountable for disenfranchising voters, as there were legitimate votes cast in these polling stations.

There is one important element to highlight: international election standards say that the invalidation of votes does not require a repeat of the polling exercise if the act of invalidation does not affect the outcome of the poll. The National Electoral Commission can confirm that in the case of 8 September poll these invalidations have NOT affected the outcome of the election.

NEC will continue to collaborate with the law enforcement agencies in the investigations of all electoral malpractices reported.

There is a very important message arising from these elections: there is no longer a place for fraud and malpractice in the Sierra Leone electoral system. The people of Sierra Leone deserve to exercise their rights in an atmosphere of freedom, fairness and transparency. This is what NEC strived to provide and will continue to strive for in the future – nothing less will be tolerated. Those who cheated have succeeded in doing a disservice to their respective candidates. They also succeeded in disenfranchising fellow Sierra Leoneans. But they did not succeed in tarnishing either the results or the credibility of the process.

The results

  • 5,679 polling station results were entered into the results database, representing 100% of all polling stations across the country, excluding those that were invalidated.
  • The average national turnout is 68.09%.
  • The total number of valid votes cast is 1,740,058.
  • There are 43,793 invalid votes, representing 2.45% of total votes cast.
  • The general summary of the results, as well as the detailed results, by station and by centre, will be posted on the NEC website: www.necsierraleone.org.

The presidential run-off results by districts:

Koroma – APC
Berewa – SLPP
Kailahun
11,631
111,695
Kenema
32,666
160,699
Kono
52,908
74,458
Bombali
125,419
14,095
Kambia
61,250
14,449
Koinadugu
42,178
23,130
Port Loko
132,287
17,789
Tonkolili
101,296
12,958
Bo
37,006
105,459
Bonthe
20,018
28,313
Moyamba
26,485
49,886
Pujehun
2,875
38,107
WA Rural
55,332
22,842
WA Urban
249,056
115,771
National results
950,407
789,651

In exercise of the powers conferred on the Returning Officer by section 37 of the Electoral Laws Act, 2002, I hereby certify that 950,407 valid votes were cast in favour of the candidate Ernest Bai Koroma at that election:

AND Ernest Bai Koroma therefore received the highest number of valid votes cast in the election:

Ernest Bai Koroma has been duly elected President of the Republic of Sierra Leone at the Presidential Election of 2007.

Any citizen of Sierra Leone may challenge the validity of the election of the President by petition to the Supreme Court of Sierra Leone, within seven days after the declaration of the Presidential results.
Christiana Thorpe,
Chairperson,
National Electoral Commission


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BRIAN DID THE MATHS CORRECTLY AND I FULLY

AGREE WITH HIM THAT IS ONE REASON I CALLED THE

 ELECTION MY EARLIA POST DAYS AGO. IT'S VERY

CLEAR AND BIO SHOULD SIMPLY CONCEED DEFEAT

WITHOUT ANY FURTHER DELAY.

(Please read this brief- thanks to Cocorioko 22 Nov 2012)
     
        Brian Conton

b

 Brian Conton Jesmed, thanks. The truth of the matter is that the maths is neither red nor green. It is straightforward. The SLPP was never dealt an easy hand in this election. If you look at the populations of the different provinces and their respective registered voters, in order for SLPP to win a simple majority the following has to happen. Let us first of all assume the North will be 100% APC for simplicity sake. Bio would have to first mobilize 100% of the electorate to ensure that there are no voided ballots and have the 100% of the South and East vote green. Then he has to ensure that over 60% of the west votes SLPP as well.

Under any condition. Without significant participation of Port Loko, Bombali and/or Kambia it is difficult for the SLPP to win. As soon as APC started getting 4-5 polling centres inside of Bo, the most densely populated area of the South, with 40-50% that meant that 100% was not possible in the south. In addition in Kono which is the second most densly populated region in the east APC in the first few announcements was scoring 50-60% of the vote. For every 3% lost in the South or East you have to make up 2% beyond the 60% in the West. With those figures the SLPP had to win 100% of the West to gain back what it was losing in the South and East Not only this was not happening in most of the results the APC was winning 66% of the West vote.

If you knew the math and understood the dynamics it was obvious in the first ten minutes of results announcement that an SLPP win was impossible. The numbers just were not there.55% in the first round is very difficult. The West actually only determines a victory with a simple majority. This is because the expansion of APC votes in the West is finite. The 55% pathway tipping point is the East and additionally the President was gaining significantly in the South. The APC just had to run up some numbers in big population centres. As long as it can keep 15% in the South and 20% in the East it will get the 55% (right now it seems to be doing better than this).

However none of the party stalwarts can see past their blinkers. In keeping hope alive in their supporters, they are making the outcome more difficult to accept. Ultimately the electorate does not accept defeat when it hears it from the NEC. It has to hear it from its own gurus. Those on this forum that are delaying the inevitable in the face of the obvious are playing a dangerous game. For the sake of peace and stability they need to make it known that at this point SLPP victories is impossible and start ratcheting down expectations. This is the responsibility of leadership especially when your community has paid for you to darken the doors of an institution of higher learning. Your intellectual horsepower is supposed to enable you to overcome partisan blindness. Your country needs you now.

 

One Response to Sierra Leonean Intellectual Admonishes SLPP To Start Preparing The Minds Of Their Supporters For Defeat Because The Figures Do Not Support Them To Win
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CREDIBILITY GIVEN TO THE 17 NOVEMBER SIERRA LEONE MULTI TIER ELECTIONS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS BY INTERNATIONAL AND NATIONAL AUTHORITIES -BIO & CO MUST HIDE THEIR FACES IN SHAME FOR POTENTIAL MEYHEM!!
 
PRELIMINARY DECLARATION : ECOWAS OBSERVATION MISSION TO THE 17 NOVEMBER 2012 GENERAL ELECTIONS IN THE REPUBLIC OF SIERRA LEONE

Nov 20, 2012.
 
I. Introduction
1. Pursuant to the Constitutional Convergence Principles of the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance (2001), and within the framework of the Program of Assistance to Member States organizing elections, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, deployed an ECOWAS Observer Mission (EOM) to monitor the conduct of the Presidential, Parliamentary, Council, and Mayoral elections, which took place concurrently in Sierra Leone on 17 November 2012.
2. The Mission, made up of 150 observers, includes delegations drawn from the ECOWAS Council of the Wise, West African Ambassadors accredited to Abuja, and the Community Parliament and Court of Justice. It also includes experts drawn from the relevant Ministries and Electoral Management Bodies of Member States, Civil Society Organizations, and the Media. It is led by Air Vice-Marshall Christian Edem Dovlo, Commandant of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Accra, and supported by the Vice-President of the ECOWAS Commission and a technical team from the Commission.
3. Prior to the deployment, ECOWAS had been monitoring the political and security situation in the country in the build-up to the elections through its Early Warning Mechanism. In September 2012, the President of the Commission dispatched a Fact-Finding Mission to the country to interact with the principal stakeholders in the electoral process, with a view to assessing the state of preparedness for the elections
II. Arrival and Deployment
4. The ECOWAS Observer Mission began arriving in the country on 11 November 2012. The Mission maintained contacts with the State authorities; interacted with the media; and held consultations with other observer missions, including the African Union, the European Union, the Commonwealth, the National Elections Watch, and the Women’s Situation Room. It also monitored the concluding phase of the electioneering campaign.
5. Following a briefing and orientation session on 15 November 2012, teams of ECOWAS Observers were deployed to 64 towns and villages throughout the fourteen Administrative Districts of Sierra Leone. These include 14 localities in Freetown (Western Area Urban I, Urban II, and Rural); 7 in Kenema; 4 in Kono; 5 in Kailahun; 5 in Bombali; 3 in Kambia; 5 in Port Loko; 4 in Tonkolili; 3 in Koinadugu; 6 in Bo; 2 in Bonthe; 4 in Moyamba; and 2 in Pujehun.
6. While in the field, the ECOWAS observers maintained contact with the Mission Situation Room in Freetown and with other missions. A team of observers also monitored proceedings at the National Tallying Centre in Freetown.
III. Preliminary Observations and Recommendations
7. Having analyzed dispatches and reports from team leaders in the field, and after a debriefing session with returning observers, the ECOWAS Observer Mission to the 2012 General Elections in Sierra Leone wishes to make a Preliminary Declaration on the electioneering campaign and developments on Election Day, 17 November 2012, as follows:
A. The Campaign, Opening of the Poll, Polling, Counting and Collation
i. Overall, the concluding phases of the electioneering campaign were colorful, enthusiastic, and boisterous. They passed off peacefully without any major incidents, helped by the holding of campaigns on alternate days and the vigilance of the security agencies.
ii. Except in a few cases, the media was polarized, partisan, and intemperate, reflecting the sharp Red – Green divide of the country’s political landscape between the All Peoples Congress (APC) and the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP).
iii. The Cooling-Off Day (16 November 2012) was generally observed.
iv. On Election Day, voters were observed in teeming numbers at the polling centers long before the official poll opening time of 7:00 am. A few had spent the night at the centers while several others had arrived as early as 4:00 am.
v. The demographic spread among the voters showed a predominance of women and the youth.
vi. There was conspicuous but unobtrusive presence of security agents at most of the polling centers observed. Security was provided by the Sierra Leone Police Force, supplemented by the Fire Service, Local Council Security and other para-security agencies.
vii. Overall, the political parties and their followers respected the prohibition of the display of party colors and symbols on Election Day.
viii. The vehicular restrictions put in place on Election Day, including manned check-points at vantage points around Freetown and other cities, greatly improved electoral security, even though they constrained the ability of some voters to exercise their franchise.
ix. In the main, polling officials were on the scene at most of the polling centers in advance of the official opening time.
x. Party agents of APC and SLPP were present at the opening of polls at all the polling stations observed. In addition, some other agents of between one and three other political parties were also observed, in particular the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC), Democratic People’s Alliance (DPA) and Independent candidates.
xi. Essential electoral materials were in place in most of the polling centers observed, and the polls opened within 30 to 60 minutes of the official opening time of 7:00 am.
xii. However, materials arrived late in a few polling centers, causing delays in the commencement of polling. Instances observed included SLMB Primary School in Port Loko (Code 0701), where materials arrived at 10:05 am; Kondembaya’s Court Barry in Koinadugu District, Bombali and some parts of the Gbong District, where voting did not start until after 3:00 pm in some instances.
xiii. At the opening of polls, Polling Center Queue Controllers at the centers visited struggled to maintain order due to a combination of insufficient numbers, and the influx and enthusiasm of voters; the situation improved gradually with time.
xiv. In the early hours of voting, the Voter Enquiry Officers were too few and professionally unprepared to guide voters to their designated polling stations, leading to frustration. The situation was worsened by the difficulty in identifying designated polling stations from the displayed serial numbers of voters.
xv. In some areas, the physically challenged, the aged and nursing mothers, encountered difficulties in accessing polling stations.
xvi. Despite the challenges, voters exhibited maximum patience and perseverance in their determination to exercise their civic rights and responsibilities.
xvii. The voting process was slow at the beginning, complicated by the sheer number of elections being conducted, On the average, it took between 4 and 5 minutes to complete the voting cycle. However, as the polling officials warmed to the task, the pace quickened.
xviii. The polling officials demonstrated adequate professionalism in carrying out their duties while party agents ably watched over their party and candidates’ interests.
xix. International and regional observers were present in most polling centers visited. These included, besides ECOWAS observers, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), European Union (EU), African Union (AU), the Commonwealth, Carter Centre, British High Commission and American Embassy, the Women’s Situation Room, and the Women’s Observer Mission. Effective presence of Local Observers, was also recorded, led by the National Elections Watch (NEW), and including Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRCSL), the Political Parties Registration Commission, Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms (SLANSA), Council of Churches in Sierra Leone (CCSL), Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Church (JPCCC), Sierra Leone Teachers Union (SLTU).
xx. On the whole, the voting process took place in an orderly, transparent and professional manner, and secrecy of the ballot was in the main ensured.
xxi. By 3:00 pm, most of the electorate who wished to do so, had exercised their franchise.
xxii. In most polling stations observed, the polls closed at the official time of 5:00 pm except in the cases where materials arrived too late.
xxiii. The sorting, counting, tallying, and reconciliation of the ballot, as well as the declaration and certification of results at the polling stations, were carried out in a professional, transparent and credible manner, and under the watch of party agents and observers.
B. Challenges Observed
8. Besides the deficiencies noted above, the ECOWAS Observer Mission also noted a few isolated incidents that could have marred the smooth and peaceful conduct of the polls, including the following:
i. Where voting closed well after 5:00 pm, the absence of back-up lighting obliged party agents to improvise with cell-phones and flashlights to enable counting to proceed.
ii. The premeditated acts of intimidation at certain polling stations, Around 5:15 pm on Election Day, a Cabinet Minister, dressed in military fatigues, led a convoy of armed soldiers to the densely populated precinct of Hill Station in Freetown. There, they were confronted by the local youth, provoking chaos and panic. It took the arrival of observers from ECOWAS and NEW, coupled with the intervention of the Operational Support Division units for the convoy to beat a retreat.
iii. At Polling Center Code No. 14221 at Metropolitan Center, Wilkinson Road, an individual snatched a number of unused ballot papers at Polling Station No. 5 and ran away. He was, however, later apprehended by the police.
iv. At the ‘Under 5’ Government Hospital Polling Center (Code 02013) in Kenema, ECOWAS observed the display of party posters.
v. At the same Center, as well as in a number of rural areas, the absence of standard polling booths and their poor improvisation may have undermined the secrecy of the ballot.
vi. It is the view of the ECOWAS Mission that these inadequacies observed do not diminish the transparency, fairness or the credibility of the electoral process at this point in time.
vii. Further, the Mission would like to draw attention to the mitigating circumstances with regard to the inadequacies observed. First, the elections are the first to be organized solely by Sierra Leoneans themselves since the end of the Civil War. Secondly, the novelty of the biometric system, coupled with the conduct of multiple elections on the same day, made certain shortcomings inevitable.
C. Preliminary Conclusions and Recommendations
9. In light of the preceding observations and analysis, the ECOWAS Observer Mission to the 2012 General Elections wishes to make the following preliminary conclusions:
i. The preparation of the 2012 elections, the conduct of the electioneering campaign, as well as the processes on Election Day up until the certification of the results of the four elections by the responsible officials at the polling stations, were free, fair, and credible. The vast majority of the qualified Sierra Leonean population, who wished to do so, were provided the required freedom and space to exercise their constitutional rights to vote or to be voted for.
ii. The ECOWAS Observer Mission will continue to closely monitor the concluding phases of the electoral process, in particular the transmission of the electoral results and supporting materials to the National Tallying Center, as well as the processing and declaration of provisional results, and will make further declarations where and when appropriate.
iii. The ECOWAS Observer Mission warmly congratulates the peace-loving people of Sierra Leone, particularly the political leaders, their followers, and the electorate in general, for the tenacity, determination, sense of moderation and patriotism demonstrated in their quest for democracy and development. The Mission wishes to also commend the National Electoral Commission, the security agencies and all the other concerned stakeholders for their invaluable contribution to the success so far achieved, and urges them to pursue the process to its logical conclusion with the same determination and commitment.
iv. At this juncture, the ECOWAS Mission would like to caution individuals and groups, in particular the political parties, the media and civil society organizations, to refrain from speculating on or declaring unofficial results until they are officially declared. In this regard, the Mission urges the Electoral Commission to come out with the provisional results as soon as possible.
v. The Mission calls on all candidates and their supporters to continue to respect due process and the rule of law at all times. Given the individual and collective responsibility for the success of the process, the Mission urges all to resort only to legal means to seek redress of any grievances emanating from the electoral process
vi. Regarding the need to further strengthen the electoral process in Sierra Leone, the ECOWAS Observer Mission wishes to recommend to the in-coming Government, the Electoral Commission, and all other relevant stakeholders, to prioritize voter education and strengthen the electoral infrastructure in the country. The Mission also wishes to urge the in-coming Parliament to revisit the issue of nomination fees for candidates, which nearly marred the preparatory phase of the 2012 Elections, with a view to finding a consensual solution to the matter.
vii. ECOWAS wishes to congratulate the people of Sierra Leone for their exemplary comportment up to this point.
Done at Freetown, this 17th Day of November 2012
The Head of the ECOWAS Mission.
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Thursday November 22 2012

 
Top of Form

Commonwealth Observer Group Interim Statement on Sierra Leone Elections

- Tuesday 20 November 2012.
Ugandan politician: Olara Otunnu, leader
Sierra Leone 2012 National and Local Council Elections Interim Statement

Interim Statement by Mr Olara Otunnu, Chairperson of the Commonwealth Observer Group

In spite of the shortcomings noted here, our overall conclusion is that the organisation and conduct of these elections has met international standards and benchmarks for free and transparent multi-party elections.

Following an invitation from the Government of Sierra Leone, Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma, constituted an Observer Group, which has been present in the country since 11 November. I am honoured to have served as Chair of the Group. During our time here, we have met the National Electoral Commission, representatives of political parties, civil society, media, the police, the diplomatic community as well as other national and international observers.

Commonwealth teams were based in Bo, Bombali,  Kenema and  Kono as well as in the capital, Freetown. Our teams observed the voting, counting, and continue to follow the tabulation. We also met with electoral officials, the security services, observers and other stakeholders at District level.

The Group was tasked with observing the election period, including the results process. We will issue a Final Report with conclusions and recommendations at a later stage.

Our presence during these elections reaffirms the Commonwealth’s long-standing engagement with Sierra Leone. The Commonwealth Observer Group carried out its duties in accordance with the standards expressed in the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observers and the Code of Conduct for International Election Observers.

The 17 November 2012 elections in Sierra Leone were the third conducted since 2002 and the first elections Sierra Leone has organised itself. They were also the first time that four elections were conducted simultaneously and a new Voters’ Register was introduced by the National Electoral Commission, capturing biometric data. Key Findings

Polling Centres

In general, voting was peaceful and orderly. We observed early and high turnout of voters, with a predominant presence of women and youth. Some polling stations did not open on time due to late delivery of election materials. Almost all these stations were however able to process voters within the allotted time. In general, we observed that polling stations closed on time with few voters remaining in the queue at 1700. However, at one polling station, our observers witnessed the reopening of the station after the initial closure at 1700. Inconsistencies in administrative arrangements, such as whether to organise voters according to their identification serial numbers or alphabetically, produced some initial confusion and delay. Although some polling centres were crowded at the start of the day, in general, the layout of the stations provided for a smooth processing of voters and secrecy of the ballot was assured. Arrangements for those with special needs and disability were not always implemented. In general, polling officials managed the stations well and were conscientious and impartial. Where there was uncertainty, we observed officials consulting guidelines or phoning the National Electoral Commission.

Vehicle Restrictions

On Election Day, police imposed restrictions on the movement of vehicles. There is consensus that this contributed to the peaceful conduct of elections. Most voters walked to their polling stations. Buses intended to transport voters were few and late. We are concerned that this arrangement disadvantaged some sectors of the population, particularly the elderly and those with disability.

 

Security

• Police were present at all polling stations the Group visited. They carried out their work discreetly and supportively.

Voter Education

Voter education was inadequate and appears to have been initiated late. Most voters seemed to have received the necessary information from officials on Election Day at polling stations.

Counting and Tabulation

Counting was methodical, transparent, but slow. The Group continues to observe the ongoing tabulation process.

The Campaign

Campaigning was free and robust. The Group received allegations about the use of state resources for campaigning. We also received reports that the campaign calendar was not fully respected. We received reports that money and goods had been used to influence voters, particularly the youth.

The Media

The Group observed that, with some notable exceptions, most of Sierra Leone’s media was openly partisan. Our observers noted that the Independent Radio Network provided impartial news and information on the election.

Political Parties

Although nine parties participated in the election, it is notable that the campaign, as well as provisional results, has been dominated by the two established political parties, the All People’s Congress and the Sierra Leone People’s Party. Emerging parties drew attention to the issue of an unequal resource base.

Nomination Fees

The significant increase in nomination fees for candidates was controversial. In spite of the short term subsidy, this remains a concern.

Women and the Election

The number of women candidates was low and gender disparity remains a concern. There were some disturbing incidents of intimidation and violence against women at polling stations. The Women’s Situation Room is an innovative monitoring exercise. Their operations centre in Freetown allowed voters and observers to call in and log issues of concern. Reports of these incidents were then immediately forwarded to the National Electoral Commission and to the police. The Women’s Situation Room also brought focus on gender issues.

National Observers

The Group was impressed by the fact that there were many national observers from a diverse range of civil society organisations, who were highly visible on Election Day. In particular, the role played by the National Elections Watch was significant. Their Citizen Situation Room provided accurate and regular updates, and is compiling a comprehensive data base.

Conclusions

Our overall conclusion is that the organisation and conduct of these elections has met international standards and benchmarks for free and transparent multi-party elections. In spite of some of the shortcomings noted in this statement, it is our considered view that the magnitude of these shortcomings has not materially affected the integrity of the process to date. We urge all concerned to ensure that the transparent and peaceful character of the electoral process witnessed thus far will continue to inform the remainder of this exercise. We appeal to all the people of Sierra Leone to observe the highest level of responsibility and restraint until the end of the process and the official announcement of results. The Commonwealth Observer Group sees this as an opportunity to further consolidate democratic gains, to strengthen the peace which has been achieved and to continue on the path of social and economic recovery in Sierra Leone. We congratulate the people of Sierra Leone for ensuring peaceful and transparent elections so far. This is a remarkable achievement. We hope this spirit and conduct will continue until the end of the process.

Freetown, 19 November 2012

Photo: Ugandan politician Olara Otunnu, leader of the Commonwealth Observer Group to Sierra Leone.

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Top of Form
Thursday November 22 2012
Sierra Leone Elections Update: Citizens Upset Over Bio Threats
 
Wednesday 21 November 2012.
By Alpha Rashid Jalloh, PV Freetown Bureau Chief.
Angry reactions from many people in every part of the country and the capital Freetown are what presently characterize the mood of the nation after the November 17 polls.
The anger emanates out of Julius Maada Bio (photo), leader of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party’s (SLPP) expression of defiance starting from polling day to post-elections period of the results that he described as unacceptable.
Many people say the fact that the elections had not even been conducted when he made the threats while issuing public condemnation of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) long before the elections ,makes his stance after the polling probably part of a secret agenda.
True or false, some citizens say when Julius Maada Bio said he would “leave no stone unturned” to pursue his case over alleged over voting, it implies that he would go to extremes. This has evoked anger, frustration and fear in the country which had experienced an almost eleven year’s war in which the people were subjected to horrendous experiences. Criminal trials took place in the post-war era that saw members of the then ruling SLPP like Hinga Norman being arrested, tried and convicted. There were also speculations at the time that the then president Ahmad Tejan Kabba would be arrested but it never happened.
Julius Maada Bio overthrew his boss Captain Valentine Strasser in 1996 and attempted to carry out a Peace Before Election Campaign which failed because the populace resisted it through massive demonstrations. His utterances over the radio after the announcement of the results in which SLPP was alleged to have over voted evoked an organic solidarity amongst the different party leaders who decided to let sleeping dogs lie and bury the hatchet. It happened that five boxes were caught stuffed with ballots at the Bo Government Secondary School and were brought to Freetown which caused the leader of the United National Peoples Party John Karefa Smart who went into Run Off with Ahmad Tejan Kabba, to drop a court suit he had intended to file.
This time round, Bio’s his utterances have again established a mental link between the citizens who now express fear and anger on the likelihood of mischief to erupt in the post- election period. But elites in the country say with the presence of the International Criminal Court observers in the country, any attempt to cause the country to slide back into chaos, would make whoever is found to be behind the cause of such scenario would be a potential candidate for the International Criminal Court.
Bio and the SLPP have several allegations that they are now insistently making. Firstly, they allege that in some polling stations their supporters were intimidated, to which APC says they should channel complaints to the appropriate authorities for investigations. Secondly SLPP alleges that some polling stations over voted especially in Makeni Ernest Koroma’s home town, to which APC points out that it was SLPP agents that were arrested by the police in polling stations with voter registers, so, if any anomaly erupts even if it affects APC, the presumption is that it might have been mischievously caused by those arrested and they should be in a position to explain the anomalies in those polling stations.
In a related incident, one teacher of Family Homes Movement Secondary School at Calabatown who was employed as a Polling Assistant was caught inking voted slips so as to make them void.
Some people erroneously misconstrue results announced by IRN especially those that totalled up to ten thousand which could be a total of polling stations or polling centers in a ward. Many people, even journalists, still could not diffrentiate polling stations from polling centers. (Several polling stations make one polling center). IRN usually announce combined stations without enlightening the people as to whether they are polling stations or centers. But pertaining to the allegations, NEC says they will investigate them.
Foreign observers have described the elections as free and fear and free from fear but have also (according to Independent Radio Network—IRN) decided to take into consideration Maada Bio’s allegations and to investigate them. Partial results announced by local radio stations so far have indicated that Bio has lost woefully
Maada Bio in deep discussion with Foday Sankoh- in Trouble Times


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UPDATE ON ELECTION RESULTS TALLYING AT REGIONAL TALLY CENTERS.

UPDATE ON ELECTION RESULTS TALLYING AT REGIONAL TALLY CENTERS.
Posted November 21, 2012 by shammer
PRESS RELEASE BY CEC / CHAIRPERSON ON UPDATE OF ELECTION RESULTS TALLYING AT REGIONAL TALLY CENTERS 
TUESDAY 21ST, NOVEMBER, 2012 UPDATE ON ELECTION RESULTS TALLYING AT REGIONAL TALLY CENTERS.
A. Response To Concerns From PMDC and SLPP The Commission received concerns from both the Peoples Movement of Democratic Change (PMDC) and the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) pertaining to the conduct of elections and performance of NEC staff and other security personnel on polling day.
The Commission will like to point out the following: Missing Final Voter Register in several polling stations in Bombali and Koinadugu Bombali -We are aware that voter register for one centre was misplaced but was later found in another centre within the same ward. Koinadugu – the election procedure allows for the generation of the register based on the presentation of a voter ID where the original register was not available on polling day. This was what occurred in Koinadugu and in any other area where it was found necessary to do so.
Interference by certain NEC officials in voters’ choice selection We would like the political parties to provide any evidence in their possession to the police.
Ballot Stuffing and Intimidation etc. NEC has not announced the results of any individual constituency or centre therein. We can therefore not comment on the allegations regarding this issue. We have no reports of NEC official being put under gun point. Any evidence of this should be provided to the police. NEC cannot comment on the supply of electricity to polling station save to say that polling kits include alternative source of light. Kassel Farm – We will ask that more specific information be given to the police.
St Edwards Secondary School – we have received no report of any NEC official being arrested for any such incident. Further NEC cannot comment on whether there was a curfew in the area as it is outside its mandate.
Refusal by NEC Officials to give out party Agents RRFs
There was a shortage of original RRFs in some parts of the country which affected all parties. However NEC officials used observer copies which were posted outside the centers.
Evidence of Unsigned or unstamped RRFs
In relation to this issue NEC observed this lapse and where it occurred investigations have been carried out to verify the results. It is important to understand that all who voted must have their votes counted and no one should feel disenfranchised.
NEC Officials directing voters to vote Ernest Koroma
In response to this matter, we advise that this information be given to the police.
RRFs not signed
Any information relating to RRF not signed should be referred to the police and please keep NEC informed. NEC is surprised to learn that party agents could sign blank RRFs thereby colluding in wrong doing.
People without Voter IDs and not on the voter register allowed to vote
This is a matter for the police and they should be provided with the necessary evidence.
64 Ballot boxes quarantined
We do not have a system wherein ballot boxes are quarantined. Generally tampered envelopes are quarantined pending investigations. We request that any evidence of irregularity at Buxton School and elsewhere be reported to the police.
UPDATE ON ELECTION RESULTS TALLYING AT REGIONAL TALLY CENTERS
The Commission hereby wishes to inform the general public that 99% of all polling stations results have now being received at the Regional Tally Centers in Kenema, Makeni, Bo and Freetown. Out of the 9,493 polling stations, 90% of (8,544) polling station results have been processed. The Remaining 10% of polling station results have been quarantined and may require opening of affected ballot boxes and recount of the ballot papers. The Commission strongly condemns the use of copies of the Final Voters Register (FVR) by political party agents on polling day to undertake parallel voter verification. The Commission distributed the FVR to the political parties for their internal use and not to undertake any parallel identification or verification of voters, thereby obstructing the electoral process and infringing of the privacy of voters.
All vehicles with stickers marked NEC operations used on polling day with the exception of security vehicles should now be removed with immediate effect
Signed: Dr. Christiana
Thorpe Chief Electoral Commissioner/Chairperson National Returning
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By Cocorioko Newspaper   Tue, Nov 20th, 2012
Stakeholders Give Pass Mark To Elections : Maada Bio Should Give Democracy A Chance!
Virtually all major stakeholders of the electioneering process in Sierra Leone have come to the conclusion that the November 17 elections were generally free, fair, and peaceful, and that isolated reports of irregularities would not be able to affect the overall outcome. International observers including those from the EU, the AU, ECOWAS, the Commonwealth, and the Carter Centre have all acknowledged the unprecedented smooth-running of the process. No less a person than the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has come out with a statement to hail the peaceful conduct of the elections.

However, even as official results are yet to be announced, the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has already made several statements tantamount to undermining the credibility of the process. The party’s flag-bearer, Julius Maada Bio, came out with a statement Sunday threatening not to accept the results due to so-called “blatant blatant stuffing…with full complicity of NEC staff…”, stating that he will “ensure that no one, I repeat no one steals the mandate of our votes or alter the results to our disadvantage.” The Secretary General of the party Sulaiman Banja Tejan Sie and a so-called Bio spokesman Kalilu Totangi have all come out openly making statements that are not helpful to the ethical protection of the process.
Notwithstanding, with provisional results continually coming in from around the country through Star Radio and the Independent Radio Network (IRN), the general trend is a continuous overall lead by both President Ernest Bai Koroma and his ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) over their main challengers in the SLPP. These provisional reports so far indicate that the APC would have more than 70 seats in Parliament and the President could get up to 60% of the national votes cast. Around the country and even abroad, APC supporters are having mooted parties and celebrations, with some chanting their party’s anthem, ‘There is victory for us… In the struggles of APC, there’s victory for us…’
At a press conference yesterday at their party headquarters, APC Secretary General Victor Bockarie Foh stopped short of giving supporters the go-ahead to celebrate, while insisting they were waiting for the final results to be read out by the NEC Chairperson Christiana Thorpe. He however re-echoed an earlier statement made on TV by Information Minister Ibrahim Ben Kargbo that ‘you cannot stop people from celebrating in their compounds’.
Meanwhile, international observers have challenged Maada Bio to provide evidence of allegations he made about ballot-stuffing.
“I think the gentlemanly thing for Maada Bio to do is to either wait for the results; or, as he says he has a mechanism of knowing all the results, he can go ahead and congratulate President Koroma, instead of decrying a process that has been given a clean bill of health even by the Chairperson of the National Electoral Commission in addition to both local and international observers,” Deputy Information Minister Sheka Tarawalie said in Makeni.
The announcement of the results by NEC is not expected to be very different from the current provisional ones. NEC Chairperson Christiana Thorpe was on a blitzkrieg helicopter tour of the provincial headquarters of Bo, Kenema and Makeni yesterday, urging her collation staff to continue to do the good work and faster, as the people are anxiously waiting for the announcement of the results.
It is expected the results would be read out any time between now and Saturday.
MAADA BIO - TO MSKE THE INEVITABLE APOLOGY AFTER NEC PRONOUNCEMENT SOON
 
 
 IT IS TIME FOR THE ELDERS OF THE SLPP TO ADVISE MAADA BIO AND HIS BACKERS TO ACCEPT DEFEAT AND ALLOW SIERRA LEONE TO MOVE ON TO PROSPERITY. iT IS TIME FOR THEM TO BEGIN TO CONSIDER WHAT THEY WILL DO TO WARDS THE 2017 ELECTIONS. IF THEY SHOULD CHOSE ANOTHER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE WHO LACKS CREDIBILITY, THEN THEY WILL BE LOOKING TO THE 2022 ELECTIONS INSTEAD.  IT'S ALL OVER! IF THEY HAVE ANY COMPLAINTS, GO NA POLICE!!

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