Sierra Leone’s electoral commission is working intensely to finalise tallying of runoff polls of March 31st, as the West African country stands on a brink of democratic transition. It is not clear between the ruling All People’s Congress and main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party who has won the polls as party sources each have been claiming victory following outcomes of the weekend exercise. Abu Bakarr Tarawally reports.
Results are expected to be announced in the next 48 hours, sources at the National Electoral Commission state. The tallying process was halted on Sunday April 1st, following a disagreement between the APC and SLPP representative as to which system the NEC should use to input the final results.
The controversy was whether or not NEC should utilise the Tally2018, an application software purchased to input the data graphics of the elections results. The APC suggested the results be inputted in Excel spreadsheet simultaneously with the tally2018 application. The SLPP on the other-hand suggested that the stand alone system should utilise the same tally2018 software to maintain same graphic format and consistency with the results. Foreign observer mission had to intervene and and held a meeting Monday Morning April 2, chaired by head of the African Union and the Sahel region, Mohammad Ibn Chambas the candidates resolved to agree on both systems.
Provisional results have clearly stated that the SLPP had a clean sweep in Kono, one of the swing states staking the election and conversely, the APC takes an easy comfort zone in the north-western Kambia and a total command of the north. The APC still leads in the Western Area, but the SLPP made clear more than inroads –improving the figures from the March 7 showdown. The voting pattern remains constant in the southeast for the SLPP but the APC improves the figures slightly in Pujehun and some portions in Moyamba district.
The new Karene district where Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara came from voted mass for the APC. The two parties maintained a strongholds strata waiting on a side-stepping advantage to eclipse in the runoff.
Events of Saturday March 31st characterised a standoff in the capital Freetown in the evening hours as reports indicate skirmishes between ruling party operatives and ordinary citizens. Journalists Ibrahim Samura of the New Age newspaper and a reporter of the Concord Times newspaper were assaulted while in line of duty covering the melee. Government ministers, security detail to outgoing President Koroma and the president’s daughter is alleged to have hands in the assault case of the journalist at Lumley, in the west end of Freetown.
According to Ibrahim Samura, the deputy minister of trade and industry, Ibrahim Washinguy Mansaray, one Moisa Kekura a party operative, one Dankay Koroma, daughter of President Koroma and the president’s security details manhandled him in full view of the public as was flogged with dog chains and frog-matched to stupor.
A supporter of the SLPP candidate, Retired Julius Maada Bio came under attacks at Lumley. Reports indicate that police fired live bullets in crowds and one of Julius Maada Bio’s body guards was injured, and his vehicle damaged. Police have not updated the public why they triggered the live shot but many have put in the usual trigger happy character of the delta forces who often mishandle rioting situations.
Moreover, the social media is already washed with all shades of opinion predicting a possible winner of the runoff election between Retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio and Dr. Amura Mathew Wilson Kamara.