President Ernest Koroma and his ruling All People’s Congress have won the presidential and parliamentary elections, the results of which will be announced officially by the National Electoral Commission (NEC) in the coming days. The president, the announcement will confirm, won the presidential elections by a majority well over the 55% threshold, a decisive mandate that forestalls a run-off.
The elections according to various observer bodies including the EU and Carter Centre were ‘peaceful and well-conducted’ and represented an important step towards consolidation of the country’s democracy. Following the announcement of the elections result, international observer bodies are expected to confirm that the outcome does reflect the general will of the people of Sierra Leone, despite what the EU called ‘an unequal playing field’ in the use of state media and other resources.
The opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) and the People’s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) proffered unsubstantiated claims that the vote was rigged in favour of the APC. The parties implied that staff of the NEC and members of the security services were complicit in this. The NEC dealt with all these allegations by asking for proof or clarifying points raised.
For instance, dealing with a complaint by the two parties that the Final Voter Registers were missing in several polling stations in Bombali and Koinadugu, the NEC said that in the case of the former the register was ‘later found in another centre within the same ward’. In the case of Koinadugu, the NEC said: ‘The election procedure allows for the generation of the register based on the presentation of a voter ID where the original register was not available on polling day. This was what occurred in Koinadugu and in any other area where it was found necessary to do so.’
Regarding other allegations such as, NEC officials directing voters to vote for the president, the electoral body said: ‘In response to this matter, we advise that this information be given to the police.’ The parties were also advised to ‘provide evidence in their possession’ after claiming that NEC officials influenced voters’ choice.
The international community has asked all citizens including leaders of political parties to respect the results once they are announced and warned of the consequences of incitement that may lead to violence.