NGC demands N’fa Alie’s resignation
March 13, 2019
By Jariatu S. Bangura
The National Grand Coalition (NGC) has called for the intervention of Government and the International Community to ensure the immediate resignation or removal of the Chief Electoral Commissioner, N’fa Alie Conteh and the establishment of an independent judicial body to investigate the conduct of the 9th March Tonko Limba Ward 196 bye-elections.
In a press release issued by the NGC, they stated that there was sufficient evidence that ballot papers had leaked out and were in free circulation in the public before the start of the election.
The release said two people were caught with pre-marked ballot papers in Kagbonkoh and Mile 14 polling centres respectively.
The party noted that at Mile 14 polling centre, they discovered that in polling station 2, at least one booklet of ballot papers issued to voters, was not a 2019 but 2018 printed version.
“The NGC is aware of one NEC Polling Centre Manager, Kelfala Yansaneh at the Kagbonkoh centre who was taken into police custody as a suspect of electoral malpractices and identified as an active SLPP operative. We are not aware of three other officials handed over to the police as NEC claims in its 11th March statement. The NGC Chairman visited the Kambia Police after the polling process for updates and was informed of only three arrests, one Polling centre manager and two voters caught with ballot papers including Momoh Samura,” the statement states.
The NGC noted that although the 2018 ballots were officially issued, voters who had the misfortune of being given those ballot papers were disenfranchised since their votes were nullified during the counting/tallying process.
“There is evidence of over voting in a number of stations including Masunthu and Kagbonkoh; in all, over 100 surplus votes were counted in polling stations. The re-count done at the tallying centre as demanded by the NGC and APC confirmed that indeed there was over voting spread across the polling centres,” the release notes
The statement claimed that the tallying of results did not end when Chief Electoral Commissioner ‘abruptly’ read out the result that is now considered the official outcome of the Tonko Limba election.
Meanwhile, the NGC considered the behaviour of NEC not only as suspicious, but also disrespectful to party officials who had to spend the entire night waiting for tallying to be concluded.
“The inability of NEC to tally results in a single ward election speaks volumes of the level of competence that currently describes the leadership of that institution. Their action of proceeding to read results after so many irregularities had occurred without concluding the public tallying process is unacceptable and renders the so-called results un-usable” the release says.
The NGC party alleges that NEC had a particular goal set that it had to achieve whatever it takes that is was why all complaints political party observers were shrugged off or treated with levity.
The NGC continue to states that the entire Tonko Limba electoral catastrophe presents a scary prospect of what the 2022/3 general elections would look like, thus expressing fear that the country would once again be plunged into chaos if those elections are conducted under the watch of N’fa Alie Cionteh.
However, in a press release issued on 11th March 2013,NEC stated that they accepted the request of the two opposition political parties: APC and the NGC, for recounts of some of the polling stations they had issues with.
“Thus a total of four (4) polling stations were recounted at the Tally Center at the District Office producing the same results as was recorded in the results reconciliation form (RRF).In addition, five (5) polling stations (three of which had been initially recounted) were recounted due to rejections of the Results Management System,” they stated.
The commission further admitted that though there were issues relating to ballot reconciliation, but such did not alter the final counts and will of the people in Ward 196.
On the issue of the ballot papers, the Commission noted that it printed ballot papers with security features with 2019 clearly marked on them for the re-run by elections.
“However, ballot papers of the 29th September 2018 cancelled bye election were found in some ballot boxes in some polling stations in Polling Centre 08056, Kabokoh and Polling Centre 08057, Mile 14; but all such 2018 ballots were neither reconciled nor counted as valid ballots. The Commission immediately took actions by withdrawing all 2018 ballots in use and handed over five suspects (four polling staff and one voter) to the police for investigation.”
They called on all aggrieved parties to go court and seek redress.