25th April 2018
First Placed SLPP Slugs-it-Out with the Ruling APC in March 27 Run-Off Elections!
By Abdul R. Thomas (14/03/18)
On Tuesday, 27 March 2018, Sierra Leoneans will do it all over again when they will choose between APC's Samura and SLPP's Maada.
In yesterday's tense media announcement, the country’s Chief Electoral Commissioner Mr Mohammed N’fa Alie Conteh disclosed that a run-off election is going to take place for Sierra Leoneans to decide who will be the next president.
After seven long days of nail biting suspense, voters in the country have finally been informed by the Election Commission that following the counting and recounting of ballots across the country, including the nullification of votes in some polling stations where evidence of electoral malpractice was found, none of the 16 candidates has won the required 55% to form a government.
The run-off is a two-horse race affair between the ruling APC candidate Dr Samura Kamara who polled 42.7% and the opposition SLPP candidate Julius Maada Bio who received slightly better with 43.8%.
What the rest of the results show is the massive gulf between the two traditional parties i.e. APC and SLPP and the other fourteen parties, in terms of popularity.
Notwithstanding this harsh reality, both the ruling APC and the SLPP will now be appealing to the supporters of the other parties for their votes during the run-off.
This is highly encouraging news for many in Sierra Leone that have always been advocating for a government of national unity in Sierra Leone, to promote national cohesion and ensure that the best human resource available across all the political parties, can be concertedly co-ordinated and utilised to form a government that is best capable of managing the affairs of the country.
The newcomer on the political landscape, Dr Kandeh Yumkella and his NGC party has done wonderfully well to come third with 174,031 votes , which is almost 7% of the total votes cast. Dr Yumkella is now expected along with Sam Sumana and his C4C party who polled 3.5% to form the backbone of any coalition block needed by either the APC or SLPP to now win the presidency and form a coalition government.
With at least 13% of votes now needed by either APC or SLPP at the run-off, not even Dr Yumkella and Sam Sumana’s aggregate of 10% will be sufficient to take either the APC or the SLPP to State House. They are going to need almost all the other opposition parties to lend their weight to their campaign for victory.
Never before has Sierra Leone’s election been so interesting, tense and yet full of so much promise of a better future, with not one single party commanding a majority support.
What the Chief Electoral Commissioner Says
Speaking on national television last evening, this was what the Chief Electoral Commissioner said: “After deliberations with political parties requesting recounts, the commission ordered recounts in 154 polling stations. Results from these polling stations are included in this result.
“The results from 221 polling stations were excluded, including where the votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters (including voters included on a supplementary list). Accordingly, pursuant to section 87 (2) of the Public Elections Act 2012, the results of those polling stations are declared null and void and are not included in this result.
“Following counting and tallying, the number of invalid votes cast at the presidential election on 7th March 2018, was 139,427. The number of valid votes is 2,537,122. The number of valid votes cast for each candidate, and the percentage of the valid votes received.
“In exercise of the powers conferred upon me, as Chief Electoral Commissioner/ Chairman and National Returning Officer of the National Electoral Commission by Sections 52(2) and 94(4) of the Public Elections Act 2012 and Section 42(3) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991, I Mohamed N’fah-Ali Conteh, do hereby declare that since none of the candidates of the parties for the presidential election received 55% of the valid votes cast, pursuant to section 43(2)(e) and (f) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991, there will be a second election (run-off) exclusively between the All People’s Congress (APC) Presidential candidate Dr Samura Matthew Wilson Kamara and the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) Presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio.
“Polling in this second election (run-off) between the two aforementioned candidates will be conducted nationwide on Tuesday 27th March 2018.”
Tonight, the Sierra Leone Telegraph has learnt that both Maada Bio and Samura Kamara’s senior advisers are already at work, making serious overtures to the opposition parties in what is going to be two weeks of vigorous horse trading.
It will not be impossible to see a few cross-carpeting and several allegations of brown envelopes (cash for votes) changing hands.
Courtesy: By Abdul Rashid Thomas, Sierra Leone Telegraph