By Mohamed Sankoh (One Drop) :
Sierra Leoneans have done it again. We did it in 2007. And we have done it again in 2012. We would have played the proverbial lizards but the European Union Elections Observation Mission (EU EOM); the African Union elections observers; the elections think tanks of the world, and our own local SLPP-infested National Elections Watch (NEW) have all praised the peacefulness, the freeness and fairness of the November polls. So, it will be more than unnecessary for us to beat our breasts in praises of how well and civilized we, as a nation, conducted ourselves during the electoral processes on November 17th.
But the road to such a feat was fraught with metaphors of fire and brimstone from members of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). The SLPP Presidential candidate, Julius Madder Bio who strives better in chaotic situations, promised to let loose the sword of Damocles on elections day. SLPP vitriolic propagandists like Dr Sama Banya, Kalilu Totangi, Jacob Jusu Saffa aka JJ Blood and the now defeated and disgraced Musa Tamba Sam all hinted at apocalyptic scenarios for elections day. Even the puffy-amoeba-looking Isatu Jabbia Kabba(h) unsexed herself (in the figure of speech of Lady Macbeth) and made several macho inferences of would-be elections Armageddon.
And the SLPP-leaning press was in handy to propagate their party’s elections Armageddon tactics. They first manufactured the lie that a supporter of the ruling All People’s Party (APC) had killed 23 of their supporters in the northern city of Makeni during their thinly attended rally there. But when it turned out that it was the brother of former SLPP presidential aspirant, Andrew Keili, who is also an SLPP supporter that killed his own people, the SLPP press was ashamed to publish the truth so they kept mum on the issue. Then a former diamond digger who is now working at the Madder Bio-loving Times newspaper sexed-up a survey and stupidly tried to ram it down the throats of more educated people who know better about survey methodologies than himself. For how can any sane person published a month’s old survey with pre-2007 elections figures and situations on 2012 elections standings and kept publishing it two months later without showing any “margin of error” and still pretending as if it was conducted yesterday? Then that Albert Academy-Form Four-leaver at Rawdon Street followed suit. Being a puppet of the Madder Bio-loving Times newspaper, that celebrated idiot too published his warped predictions in last Friday’s edition of his 97% culled-and-paste secondary school-like newspaper. And there was, and still is, that scaremongering Unity newspaper which published that the ruling APC was transporting arms and ammunition to Kenema city to disrupt the would-be elections there. But their “arms and ammunition” lorry turned out to be a fish truck! And they were not decent and honest enough to offer an apology.
But while the anti-Sierra Leone and anti-nationalist elements within the SLPP were praying for Sierra Leone to be transformed into Sodom and Gomorrah on November 17th; the God that “keepth Israel” and the Allah that protected Prophet Muhammad during his flight from Mecca to Medina had other plans for Sierra Leone. So, the Almighty God did not “sleep neither slumber” (sorry for being too religious in this article today) on elections day. And just like the way God struck Saul (who was later baptized as Paul) on his way to Damascus; so were the anti-Sierra Leone and anti-nationalist elements within the SLPP put in states of inertias b y the Almighty God and the elections went without incidents.
That fact was not lost on Dr Christiana Thorpe, the Chief Electoral Commissioner who also doubles as the Chairperson of the National Electoral Commission (NEC). On Sunday this week, at a press conference, she made this confirmation at NEC’s Tower Hill headquarters that, “…Generally, polling was reported to be orderly and peaceful in almost [98% of] all polling stations nationwide… Generally, all polling stations closed on time in the Kailahun, Kenema and Kono Districts…and counting of ballots immediately commenced…Polling in the Northern Region was generally orderly and peaceful…Reports indicate that polling in the Southern Region was very peaceful and orderly…[And] Polling in the Western Area was reported to be peaceful…”
If a foreign pupil is given the above excerpt to do as a “Comprehension” passage in an exam, the inference s/he will deduce from such is that the people involved in such elections are civilized people. It will tell him/her that if the elections are peaceful and orderly, then the elections are credible. And if the elections are credible, then the losers should be decent enough to accept the results without any squeak of protest—though the Sierra Leone People’s Party has already started its cry-baby habit and its leadership now engaged in spewing out inciting and hate messages!
As Sierra Leoneans, we should be very proud of ourselves that for the first time we conducted national elections that were free of fear and intimidation—without machete-brandishing ex-Kamajors lurking in nearby bushes in the eastern and southern regions. We should back-tap ourselves because for the first time in 51 years since Independence, Sierra Leone has conducted elections without voters fleeing with fear. For the first time in Sierra Leone’s chequered history, a sitting government has conducted elections without clear and blatant cases of ballot box-stuffing as it happened in 2007 at the Kailahun Court Barray. And for the first time in the country’s history, a defeated candidate will sum up courage to pick up the phone and congratulate the incumbent even before the final results will be officially announced by the chairperson of the National Electoral Commission (NEC).
And for all those feats, we as Sierra Leoneans, need to congratulate ourselves for putting up bahaviours befitting those who have joined the league of nations adhering to true democratic tenets. And if I were not a teetotal, I would have popped Champaign. But all the same, I will still raise a box of “Pure Heaven” in place of clinking glasses…