Dr.Richard Konteh: APC resolute about staging peaceful protest if our demands are not met

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Dr. Richard Konteh is a former flagbearer aspirant of the APC

By Yusufu S. Bangura

After a four-hour-long meeting with the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC), Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone(ECSL) and other international bodies, Dr.Richard Konteh,who was one of the representatives of the APC, told journalists they  will go ahead with their planned demonstration if their demands are not met.

The peace dialogue meeting took place at the Bintumani Conference Center, Aberdeen in Freetown. The meeting was attended by members of the APC Party, ECSL Commissioner, Chairman, Political Parties Regulation Commission (PRC) and other staff, African Union Observers, diplomats, UNDP, and Peace Commission, among others.

The meeting was summoned mainly to look into the concerns raised by the APC  in relation to the conduct of the country’s multitier elections scheduled for June 24th and to also listen to the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone in respect of what has been done to address the concerns of the APC.

Speaking to the media on behalf of the APC party after the meeting, Dr. Richard Conteh stated that he and his colleagues were to retire to their party headquarters to meet with their Leader and Chairman to have further discussions and get back to the Commission.

“But the desire to peacefully demonstrate still stands,” he said.

Among other things, the APC Party had challenged the result management system which the Commission intends to use, adding that the proposed results transmission App is not provided for by law.

He added that based on Section 4(5) of the Constitutional Instrument No 16 of 2023 states that ‘A returning officer shall compile a list of registered early voters and give a copy of the list to all political parties upon request” but his party never received a copy of the Early Voters Register.

Conteh continued that the APC had also challenged the district-level certification, which he said is in breach of Section 92(2) of the Public Elections Act.

He further mentioned that his party had also challenged the decision of the Commission on early voting, contrary to the country’s electoral laws.

He further lamented that his party had requested in vain for the names and particulars of persons who are entitled to vote in public elections and referenda, including their voter identification number, date and place of birth, sex, and signature or thumbprint.

In all of these, the PPRC Chairman, Abdulai Bangura, sounded optimistic about what the outcome of another meeting scheduled will be. However, he opined that in a negotiation one will not be able to get everything.

“We have asked the APC and the ECSL to give us a smaller committee that the Commission will deal with directly,” he disclosed.

Bangura noted that the PPRC has a key role to play in all of the issues, albeit the pessure is mounting as the election draws near, but they remain optimistic that the negotiation will end well.

Chairperson, Peace Commission, Reverend Johnson, stressed the need to find a way out, amidst the plethora of issues raised by the APC Party.

“In any situation, we believe that there is hope, even though the parties will have to consult with their leaders,” he remarked.

Reverend Johnson added, “We might not thrash everything, but we believe that we all will come to a place where we will agree.

A presser released yesterday by the APC stated that after the 72 hours ultimatum at the meeting convened by the PPRC, the EC-SL were just evasive and circumventing the issues raised by the party with a view to creating a false impression on the minds of members of the International community with no headway.

The release then concluded that the APC reiterated that should the issues raised not resolved, they will call on all their supporters nationwide to converge at designated areas for a peaceful protest.

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