Rerun or no Rerun of 2023 elections ? SLPP, APC differ at tense tripartite committee press conference

By Kabs Kanu

The ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party ( SLPP) is convinced that the thrust of the international community – mediated tripartite dialogue is future elections while the opposition All People’s Congress ( APC ) is still giving its myriad of supporters faint hopes that everything is still possible.

The SLPP Minister of Information and Civic Education , Mr. Chernoh Bah, who chaired today’s major press conference of the tripartite committee and the SLPP member of the committee , Dr. Emmanuel Gaima, were unequivocal in  their contention that everything being done is for future elections, not the 2023 polls. They even strengthened their views with the assertion that the tripartite committee is  not a legislative or investigative  committee ; rather, according to them, it is a review committee set up to only review past elections and make recommendations on future elections.

But with supporters of his party all over the country and the world listening, the APC committee representative, Dr. Kaifala Marah, strongly warned that the final outcome of the dialogue must not be preempted.  He assured supporters that the 2023 elections will be fully investigated ( Even arguing that the words  REVIEW and INVESTIGATE were synymous ) and that the committee will make the right recommendations . He even suggested or insinuated  that even if it can be agreed that the committee is not a legislative body, there are public election laws ratified by Parliament that have the same force of law. He even went on to quote the relevant portions.

Dr. Kaifala Marah , backing his advice that the outcome must not be preempted , intimated that the recommendations that will be made will depend on what is unearthed by the committee.

Thus, though his statements seemed vague and ambiguous with regards to whether there will be a rerun or not, they had the tendency of making APC supporters still continue to hold on to the strands of the faint hopes they are entertaining that a rerun is still a possibility .

However, the U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Bryan Hunt, in a post – press conference interview with the media , made it very clear that the U.S $1.5 million his country donated to the committee through USAID  has nothing to do with conducting a rerun , whose costs, he estimated, ran into upwards of a hundred million dollars. The money, he went on , is to enhance the work of th e committee. In his usual very frank mood, the outspoken ambassador said anybody who said that the money was for conducting  rerun of the 2023 election was not telling the truth.

It was however clear from today’s high – wire press conference that the APC  has not given up on the 2023 elections and based on Dr. Kaifala Marah’s statements and his body language and the intensity of the applause that greeted his statements, whenever he spoke, the APC is determined to make a fight of it.

Yesterday,  I predicted  that this press conference will reveal for once and for all whether there will be a rerun or not, but when the session ended, the issue was still not resolved , as expected, because Dr. Kaifala Marah’s statements are subject to many interpretations.  It all now depends on whose resolve you want to trust.

My take on the issue, after the press conference today, is that we all continue to wait . Time will tell who will be proved right—The SLPP or the APC. It did not seem to be a clear cut or cut- and – dried issue .In fact, considering the tensions that built up in the room during the press conference, which the Minister of Information worryingly mentioned and pleaded with panelists to seek to defuse in their concluding statements, this looks like it will become a very contentious and divisive issue in coming months.



4. *Mandate of the Committee*
In the fulfilment of its mandate, the Committee shall take the following actions:
fI during the course of its examination, the Committee determines
that certain persons, groups or institutions bear responsibility for
undermining democratic elections in Sierra Leone, including the
2023, 2018, 2012 and 2007 electoral cycles, the Committee shall recommend appropriate action to the President.
il. Request access to al relevant documents, records, and information necessary for the conduct of its examination.
ji. Invite and speak to experts, government officials, EMBs, political party representatives and any other individuals deemed necessary for the examination.
i v .Request resources, technical expertise, or assistance from relevant national or international organizations and development
partners to support its work.
thereafter, necessary
actions and
improvements or amendments to electoral laws, procedures, and regulations to ensure free, fair transparent, and credible electoral
process in future elections in the country.




*The lack of transparency and secrecy surrounding the tabulation process.from the electoral commissioners has revealed 6 unusual patterns from the 2023 election results as detailed below :*

*📌1. Overvoting – The study revealed instances of over voting during the first batch of election results, where the number of vote casts exceeded the total number of registered voters in certain districts. The commission went ahead and announced the result with clear evidence of over voting without nullifying and/or rerunning the election in the affected districts -polling stations as per section 84 of the Public Election Act, 2022. Out of the 16 districts, 10 of the districts are either over voted or maybe over voted as detailed below. This means, 4 of the districts have strong evidence of over voting, no matter which polling stations are aggregated. 6 of the districts maybe over voted, depending on the polling stations processed in the first batch of election of 60% of polling station per district.*

*📌2. Inconsistencies of Voting Patterns within the Same District: Inconsistencies were identified in the voting patterns within the same district between the first and second batches of results. These disparities have sparked concerns regarding the accuracy and integrity of the electoral process, indicating the possibility of tampering or manipulation. The table provided below 👇🏾 summarizes the turnout rates of the first batch, comprising 60% of the polling stations’ results per district, and the second batch, comprising the remaining 40% of the polling station results.*

*📌3. Irregular pattern of APC Vs SLPP performance between the first and second batches of results: Data evidence indicates a notable shift in voting patterns between the first and second batches of results for the APC and SLPP parties within the same district. Intriguingly, historical data consistently characterizes these districts as either leaning towards or being strongholds of the opposition party, suggesting that any increase or positive swing in performance should have favored the APC party. Our study, however, focused on districts that exhibited at least a 15% swing in party performance between the first and second batches of election results. It is important to note that other districts with swings of less than 15% are not included in the analysis presented*

*📌4. Irregular Turnout between Incumbency Stronghold and Opposition Stronghold: Differences in voter turnout were noted between regions recognized as strongholds for the incumbent party and those supporting the opposition. In certain instances, there were notably higher turnout rates in areas considered strongholds for the incumbent party compared to those favoring the opposition. The data from 2007 to 2018 consistently indicated a 2% voter turnout rate advantage in the south-eastern region over the APC stronghold. However, in the 2023 elections, there was a significant departure from this trend due to an unprecedented increase in turnout rates in districts such as Kailahun, Kenema, Bo, Bonthe, and Pujehun.*

*📌5. Irregular Low Invalid Votes: Upon analyzing the election data, a strikingly low number of invalid votes was observed. Ordinarily, there should be a reasonable proportion of invalidated votes due to inadvertent mistakes made by voters. However, the unusually low number of invalidated votes raises concerns about potential interference with the voting process, indicating a possible attempt to manipulate the election outcome.*

*📌6. Irregular Pattern of Votes Turnout between Presidential and Legislature Elections: A notable irregularity was observed in the voter turnout during the simultaneous presidential and legislative elections. The inconsistencies in turnout numbers between the two elections raise suspicions of potential manipulation or interference in the voting process, possibly aimed at favoring specific parties.*


*Elections Review Committee’ Speaks on Possible Rerun of 2023 Presidential Election*

Dr. Emmanuel Gaima Clarifies Elections Review Committee’ Mandate, Rules Out 2023 Election Rerun

*©️EAGLE 👁️ Media*

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