19 November 2012

Sierra Leone: SLPP's Holding Statement On the Conduct of Sierra Leone's 2012 Elections

Photo: Tiggy Ridley/IRIN
A policeman uses a poster to show a woman how to mark a ballot correctly (file photo).

press release

The attention of the Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) is drawn to an unfortunate statement by the chair of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Md. Christiana Thorpe On national television, stating that the Commission "Frowns" at what she termed "Parallel Voter Verification" at polling stations.

SLPP would like to draw the attention of the public and election observers to the fact that party poll monitoring and verification was discussed in a Political Parties Liaison Committee meeting of Wednesday, November 14, 2012 where it was agreed that political parties can do parallel verification in the interest of overall transparency of the electoral process.

Following this inopportune statement by the Chairperson of NEC our poll monitoring was brought to an abrupt end with some of our Party agents arrested. The party finds the NEC Chairperson's turn-around as a deliberate attempt to undermine the party poll monitoring and has the potential of eroding our Party's confidence in NEC.

We also wish to refer to many incidence of intimidation, molestation and physical assault on Party Officials including the attack on the Women's Leader of the Party, Mrs. Isatu J. Kabba and the Parliamentary Candidate for Constituency 112, Mr. John Tucker by Mr. Idrissa Kamara (AKA Leather Boot), body guard to the APC Presidential Candidate. We are alarmed by this state sponsored violence on innocent people.

The SLPP also wish to draw the attention of the public and election observers to the incident of pre marked ballot papers in favour of President Koroma. The following are the details: constituency No 10, ward 032, centre code 2025. One of the pre marked ballot papers was given to Mrs. Memunatu Koroma. The attention of the Police and the observer community was drawn to the matter. The party takes this orchestrated rigging very seriously and will reject any outcome that is not reflective of the will of the people.

We also wish to express our concerns about the conduct of Government Ministers who have been storming polling stations and engaged in ballot stuffing both in the Western Area and the provinces particularly in the Northern Province and in the process intimidating voters. Messrs Paolo Conteh - Minister of Defence, Musa Tarawalli - Minister of Internal Affairs, Logus Koroma, Frank Kargbo - Attorney General and Minister of Justice and Alimamy Petito Koroma - Minister of Pubic Work have been clearly identified leading thugs to many communities. Hon Alimamy Petito Koroma was even caught in Kambia with ballot papers and was arrested and handed over to the EU Observers in Kambia. Minister Paolo Conteh was with a full array of thugs that disrupted voting at Polling Center 14190; at Martilie's International School polling station and at Wilberforce Field Polling station. This is unacceptable. In this regard, we wish to draw the attention of the Public, NEC and election observers to this act which has the tendency of undermining the legitimacy and credibility of the election results.

There are also reports of ballot stuffing taking place in many parts of the Northern region. Some of the areas include: Polling station 4115, at the Community School in Manyeh, Bombali District where the NEC staff, Alusine Sesay, forced SLPP polling agents out of the Polling Center. Also in Diang Chiefdom, Koinadugu District, Mohamed Jawara a Party Agent of the SLPP, was chased from the polling station.

This is a holding statement to mark the end of today's poll. While we are very confident we will win the poll, we will keep watching this process very closely and will prepare a comprehensive report to inform the general public of our position on the overall elections.

Sulaiman Banja Tejan-Sie

National Secretary - General

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