• August 29, 2023

APC: RELEASE YOUR ELECTION DATA – Citizens, Diplomats Suggest

APC: RELEASE YOUR ELECTION DATA  – Citizens, Diplomats Suggest
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Although the people in the main, including supporters of the All People’s Congress – APC and members of the international community still say they believe that the tallying of the 24 June 2023 elections was irregular, many are now saying that the APC should release the results their elections observers tallied from across the country. This they believe will put pay to the announced result that declared Julius Maada Bio as the winner of the presidential elections.

Supporters of the man that is being referred to as the president in waiting, Dr Samura Kamara, are calling on him to show his evidence or proof that the results that declared President Bio winner of the 24 June elections were wrong.

They said no one, not even the international observers have released their results, ‘although they are insisting that the Electoral Commissioner, Mohamed K. Konneh, does likewise’.

It can be recalled that Commissioner Konneh declared incumbent President Julius Maada Bio as winner of the 24 June 2023 presidential elections, a result that is unacceptable to the APC and local and international elections observers.

Since Commissioner Mohamed Konneh announced the presidential results, members of the international community, especially our development partners in the EU, UK, Germany, US, France, ECOWAS, AU, and even the opposition APC, have called on the commissioner to release the disaggregated voting data at the polling station level.

Refusing to release the result, Konneh said he is not under legal obligation to do so. His refusal to release the result and his announcement of Bio as the winner have emboldened the president to name a cabinet and conduct a state opening of a one sided parliament.

The APC has refused to take part in the governance of the state, which refusal has resulted to the party’s elected Members of Parliament and of the Local Councils boycotting their roles in the governance of the state, something that has seen Sierra Leone returning to the one party state the Constitution refers to as an “abomination”.

‘It is obvious that Commissioner Konneh is not going to release the elections data we are requesting. What we believe that is left is for the APC to release the results their observers tallied. Releasing such a result that we expect would show Dr Samura as clearly winning the election will add more credibility to the party’s claim of tallying fraud. But we think that the party is thinking otherwise,’ said a ranking member of the diplomatic corps.

Chipping in, another diplomat said while this would be ‘a great move to show to the people and the world that the ECSL did not tally the results as they were announced across the country’, she is afraid that the APC might not have had people at all the polling centres.

‘There is the knowledge or rumour that the APC did not have their people at all the polling stations across the country. This will present a problem with the demand that they release their polling data. But there is an easy solution to this as we can collate data from other observers who were present where the APC might not have had observers. This problem of the release of the data can only be strengthened by all these people releasing their data. This will force the people of Sierra Leone to demand that Konneh releases his data,’ she opined.

Speaking to a ranking APC executive he said the party has considered releasing their data but they were cautioned from making such a move.

‘Well, we don’t have a problem with releasing the data. Our caution is for the ECSL not to use all our released data from all the elections observers to play magic with their numbers to reflect that President Bio did win the elections. We know that from inference President Bio did not win the elections because had he won Konneh would have released the results even if the law did not empower him to do so. This leaves us with yet another way to solve this issue,’ he suggested.

Meanwhile, the APC stalwart said the party should not completely cut off the prospect of using the courts to solve this impasse. While the party has sufficient evidence that the courts will not be impartial in deciding the outcome of the people’s request for the commissioner to release the polling data by polling station, he said the party should still believe that justice will always prevail over injustice or unrighteousness, and encouraged the party to ‘give the court the chance to change history’.

The APC executive added with a warning: ‘We cannot totally divorce our actions from the courts. If we continue to do so we will water down the credibility, integrity and independence of the judiciary to the point where no one will ever respect their decisions. The ideal situation using the judiciary would be for the courts to look at the electoral law as it relates to the release of the elections data. If at any point during an election one or more of the partners after the announcement of the results are demanding for the polling data we want the law to demand the commissioner does so to clear the air or doubt. Short of the courts I don’t see how we can ever get past this stalemate. One of my solutions will also be for the APC to release their elections results.’

As the whole world is watching Sierra Leone, in light of the prevailing circumstance in several countries in the sub region, the nation is treading a dangerous path that is not far from what has happened in countries where the military had to intervene to restore sanity to the constituted order.

Elections disputes and accusations from members of the opposition that the incumbent has captured all other state institutions meant to check his or her excesses form the basis for most of the popular actions taken by the armies from Mali to the Sudan.

‘We don’t want for Sierra Leone to return to the dark days of our past fighting each other. We can resolve this elections issue. The solution is at the Electoral Commission. If the Commissioner is still refusing to release the elections data then we are calling on the APC and all others who tallied the results at the polling centres across the country to start releasing their data. If we can show that there are discrepancies this way then President Bio will lose more credibility which we hope will force him to accept our demands and either do a rerun of the elections or concede defeat based on all these released elections data,’ implored a trader who said ‘business is not moving with all this election problem and military coups in the region’.

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