Ruling All People’s Party ( APC ) supporters have told COCORIOKO that they are just awaiting the provisional results of the just-concluded Presidential, Legislative and Local Council Elections to be validated by the Chair of the National Elections Commission ( NEC ) , Dr. Christiana Thorpe, before kicking off nation-wide jubilation for their commanding victory over the opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP ). They believe that they have defeated the SLPP , but they are just waiting for it to be official.
APC SUPPORTERS ARE LAUGHING AT THE SLPP FOR THEIR LACK OF GAME SPIRIT
Provisional results being tallied in the polling centres and announced by radio stations in the country show the APC Leader, Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma, who is seeking re-election, winning the presidential elections by a wide margin and the APC sweeping most of the parliamentary and local council seats.
As they gleefully monitor all the results coming in, which seem to be in their favour, APC supporters told this newspaper last evening that they are not moved by the rantings of the Leader of the SLPP, Retired Brig. Julius Maada Bio, who has lost the presidential elections, going by the provisional results. In a statement he released yesterday, Bio made the following insane allegations :
“The Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Madam Christian Thorpe in her latest statement to the Press, admitted the disruption of polling in some parts of the Western Area. She mentioned only three wards in Freetown, namely Wards 362, 292 and 394. Her statement also mentioned the disruption of polling due to election malpractices.”
“In addition to the discrepancies identified by the NEC Chair and the National Elections Watch (NEW) , it has come to the attention of the Party that the factors that have affected the polling in Freetown are more widespread and a lot more serious than has been reported by NEC.”
“We have ample evidence and vital information to substantiate a number of incidents bothering on irregularities that violate the Electoral Code and which has the potential to affect the final outcome of these elections.”
The Minister of Information and Communications, Alhaji I.B.Kargbo , in a statement to the Government International Media Unit in New York yesterday described the SLPP allegations as totally untrue. The minister was emphatic that “The allegations made by the SLPP suggesting ballot stuffing and intimidation by government functionaries are totally untrue. The APC wants to emphasize that no member of the party was engaged in ballot stuffing or intimidation.” He went on to say that “The international observers on the ground from various organizations and countries have been given a free hand to monitor the elections throughout the country and this was done consistent with President Koroma’s desire to establish an open and level playing field for all political parties . ”
For their part, APC supporters say that are not surprised that the SLPP are questioning the conduct of these elections because it is a habit ingrained in them not to ever accept defeat. They made reference to the 1967 and 2007 elections. In 1967 , after discovering that they had been defeated by the APC, the SLPP invited the military Force Commander, Brig. David Lansana, who was the in-law of the then SLPP Prime Minister , Sir Albert Margai, to stage a coup which he did by declaring martial law and placing under arrest the newly-elected Head of State , Mr.Siaka Stevens, and some of his ministers. In 2007, the SLPP again made frantic efforts to derail the people’s mandate but for the intervention of the international community. APC supporters said they had envisaged that the SLPP will dispute the elections if they lose, so what Bio is saying is not surprising.
They expect the APC votes not to be affected , if the NEC Commissioner invalidates some votes, because the elections malpractices being reported were mainly commited by the very SLPP. In Freetown alone, COCORIOKO official, Mr. Foday Mansaray, who was one of the monitors on the ground , had two SLPP officials arrested at Grassfields, Kissy after he and Police on duty found them engaging in surreptitious activities . He accompanied the police, who arrested the man , to the CID, where the culprit was locked up awaiting prosecution, though former Ambassador Allieu Kanu, later materialized at the CID to plead for the release of the lawbreaker. Another COCORIOKO official on the ground, Dr. Bankole Gibson caught some SLPP Functionaries using a duplicate voters list at a Lumley polling station to force some voters to cast their ballots for the SLPP. There were other instances of complaints against SLPP operatives who were engaged in criminal activities in polling stations.
APC supporters believe that whatever happens President Koroma will get the 55% needed to avoid a runoff and some of them said that even if the most inconceivable happened and there is a runoff, President Koroma will still beat Maada Bio. But mosr APC supporters are convinced there will not be a runoff because the margin of defeat of the SLPP is too large.
What is more, the APC supporters said that they had never seen a whole election invalidated because of complaints about irregularities by one side. These allegations will always be there from bad losers but usually they do not result in the whole election being cancelled , even if the matter is taken to court. What the SLPP does not realize , according to APC supporters , is that all allegations are subject to thorough investigations and often they are found to be false.