• September 8, 2023

With Commonwealth, others in… WE WANT A RERUN OF THE ELECTION – ELECTORATE

With Commonwealth, others in…  WE WANT A RERUN OF THE ELECTION – ELECTORATE
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With the arrival of Commonwealth and others to settle the political impasse that erupted in the country as a result of the unacceptable outcome of the elections citizens have called for a rerun of the controversial polls.

In a call that did not come as a surprise, Sierra Leoneans that FORUM NEWS-SL engaged on the conduct of the outcome of the controversial presidential polls have mostly called for a re-run of the disputed 24 June 2023 elections. The citizens who voted, together with many that said they were disenfranchised by the actions of polling station agents and party gangsters on that fateful day, said they want the authorities and our international partners, especially Dr Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara and the All People’s Congress (APC), to focus their attention on a re-run of the disputed elections instead of on dialogue and demanding the pro-government and ruling partisan, Chief Electoral Commission and the National Returning Officer, Mohamed Kenewui Konneh to releases the results that won’t be in their favour.

‘By the look of things it does not even sounding like president Bio is considering anything the APC and international community are demanding, considering the number of opposition members held behind bars. With how Electoral Commissioner Mohamed K. Konneh has flat out refused releasing the demanded disaggregated voting data at the polling station level. With the APC disapproval of a regime dependent judiciary to solve our presidential result problem, for which we support them, the only sensible thing to do will be for us to have a re-election of the 24 June process,’ said SLPP supporter Munda Senessie.

The ardent SLPP member recalled that in 2018 they voted for President Julius Maada Bio because they wanted him to get rid of the nation’s development killers of corruption, financial leakages, indiscipline that leads to lawlessness, school fees and based on the lofty promises in the SLPP’s 2018 New Direction campaign manifesto. Senessie said as a president he and his fellow SLPP supporters were disappointed by how president Bio performed between 2018 and 2023, disclosing that he deems the economic situation including the difficulties and hardships they experienced as being ‘much harder under president Bio’s regime than at any other time in the history of Sierra Leone’.

‘Our economic situation has gotten worse since 2018. We expected for things to get better under president Bio. But things are so bad at present that even if you have $5,000 to do business you will not be able to get involved in any serious business because of high taxes to do business. After five years we see that president Bio has not made the business environment friendly for new investors to come in. Our government’s actions for the past five years especially with how they handled the state’s and donated funds have ruined our economy. Because of our continued hardships these past five years, we decided to vote for change. But president Bio and his electoral commissioner have colluded to steal our mandate and continuing to force Bio’s win on an unwilling electorate,’ he added.

Senessie and his APC neighbours said they all voted against president Bio and were widely hoping that he had lost the election so that change will be effected.

‘Now that we are clear that the election result can only be termed as “stolen” we don’t think that all this talk of dialogue and peace overtures are necessary. They have never solved any of our elections issues of recent memory. We want a fresh set of elections for the House, local councils and State House. These negotiations will take time, which President Bio needs enough of to continue with this capture democratic institutions by insisting that he is president of Sierra Leone. If Bio is confident that he is that popular to be elected the way he did, then he shouldn’t have a problem with having another go at the polls,’ Jeneba Sankoh of the APC pitched in.

Sankoh said the rerun will be carried out by foreign electoral managers so as to give our former commissioners a break and lesson on how elections are conducted.

‘All these wasted trips to Makeni and across the country seeking dialogue over the disputed 24 June presidential elections results are not necessary. They will not lead to what the APC and the international community are demanding in the interests of democratic transparency. A committee to look into things may take too long to be concluded. Their reports are even harder to come about with their recommendations in the main unheeded. So they will be useless. Going the route of negotiation, dialogue, an elections review committee are all aimed at enhancing favourable time management at State House and confident that with how slowly we do things by the time we get to the end of the committee stage Bio would have done his five years while the nation would have been made to look like fools by Mr Bio, the SLPP and Konneh,’ Sankoh noted.

A member of the clergy that chanced on the discussion said he is very distrustful of the overtures for peace being made by members of the nation’s interreligious council, claiming that they lack credibility and that the people see them as doing the president’s bidding for financial rewards. He observed that they were not out of the country when the wrongs deeds were perpetuated by the ECSL and Konneh and are only proposing dialogue for peace now because of the opposition withdrawal from taking part in governance. The council, he observes is basking in religious hypocrisy and lack and deceitfulness.

‘These religious people are part of the problem. These people have been in the country since 2018 and have seen, heard and experienced all what we have been going through as a people under president Bio, his police and army. They know how the election was won because it has been that way for a long time. But still when they had the chance to speak the truth they failed to sanction Bio for how he “won” the presidency and call on Konneh to do the honourable thing by God. Instead they are suing for peace when the chief executive and his electoral commissioner are responsible for the lack of peace we are experiencing. More than any other group of people in this country our religious leaders should have been the first public figures with the moral authority to scold Bio and Konneh for how they have and continue to embarrass the people and nation to God and the rest of the world,’ Pastor Kelvin Koroma noted.

Meanwhile, many citizens say they believe that the APC and Dr Samura Kamara are fighting to restore and safeguard our democracy.

‘We are 100% in support of the APC. We however want them to start demanding for a rerun of the 24 June polls. Our international development partners should know that we want a re-election as Sierra Leoneans. Forget this insistence on polling data from the ECSL and dialogue. They will never solve the problem. The only guarantee will be for us to redo all the elections that were held on 24 June 2023. By doing the elections over those that were disenfranchised due to “logistical challenges” will get another chance to vote, we would have ensured that the tallying be done correctly, restored the people’s confidence in democracy and the rule of law. Sierra Leone is on the precipice of change, a change that will result to more changes going forward, only if we do the right thing,’ noted a citizen who said she is looking forward to ‘history being made with the rerun of all the 24 June elections’.

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