By: Winstanley. R. Bankole Johnson
Giving praise where it is due, I think President Bio ought to be commended that throughout his explanations at his American University alma- mater, he never admitted to having conceded to a purported request from the United States to have meddled in and tampered with the elections processes. What pundits are skeptical about is why even though his encounter with the United States occurred right here in Sierra Leone during the elections, he had to wait until he was on American soil before divulging such an important piece of information to his citizens, and through third parties for that matter.
Still I am inclined to believe President Bio because in the event those edicts justifying interference by a foreign diplomat into our electoral processes existed, then there would have been no need for running those elections that were supposed to have been conducted on a level playing field and in a free and fair manner, when possibilities also existed for their outcomes to have been manipulated in favour of the incumbent Head of State candidate.
But that inadvertent Presidential delinquency to have waited until he was on foreign soil before divulging it to us has opened up to a plethora of concerns including the one that is now looking axiomatic that indeed, the SLPP did not win the last elections – unless of course they wish to insult our collective intelligence by insisting that by his own voluntary public admission that he was requested by the United States to have meddled into and tampered with those elections results, our President, Commander-in Chief and Fountain of Honour misdirected himself.
That speculation holds true because if indeed SLPP/President Bio had actually won those elections hands down and by the margin announced by the ECSL, they would have (in Bible paraphrases) long published those disaggregated results in “Gath” (all international news outlets – the BBC, CNN, Al-Jazeera, VoA, Radio Deuthsche-Weller etc) as well as “in the Streets of Ashkelon” to have prompted their Sons and Daughters into endless rejoicing and to the chagrin of their sworn enemies, the APC. But by all indications the “double upper-cut” which Bio promised his opponent Dr. Samura Kamara in the First Round did not work.
So SLPP diehards, sympathizers and watchers of democracy in the world at large who believe Sierra Leoneans should just let the proverbial “Sleeping dogs lie” and “move on” are best advised to consider the wider implications of relying on an elections mandate unsubstantiated by credible disaggregated results analysis from polling booths, polling centers, Wards, Constituencies, Districts and Regional in our country and within the sub-region – especially one already almost festooned with coup plotters – or with dictators running governments on a stolen political mandates.
The specter becomes critical if when analyzing those implications, detailed correlations are made and due attention paid to upholding and preserving of Constitutional Order, which exercises will definitely open the examiners to a plethora of issues as follows:
1. If indeed as President Bio asserted he was approached by the United States into meddling and tampering with the electoral processes, of what use was the information to the International Community given the fact that there is no part or code of constitution or electoral statutes as ratified by our legislature that would have justified those actions? And in the event, of what continued use would have been our extant electoral laws and or the need to be conducting future elections if an incumbent Head of State could easily transgress them on the whim and caprices of a foreign diplomat?
2. But whether or not any such code of statutes justifying that exists in our laws, we would need to see, watch or listen to the video and audio evidences of the entire discussions between and among the three or more counterparties (the US, Bio and Mohammed Konneh) as they colluded into agreeing on the necessity to have meddled in and tamper with the ongoing electoral process between 24th June and the dates of announcement of the results outcomes. So where are the video clips and audio tapes? We need those evidences!!
We would specifically need to know from the details of those conversations between and or among President Bio, the United States and Mohamed Konneh to differentiate between whether they constituted specific directives from the US to the President meddle in and interfere with the results, or whether they were simply strict admonitions from the United States for President Bio to stop Mohammed Konneh from proceeding with announcements of fictitious results that they knew were already skewed in his favour, and that were not even certified by the correct District Returning Officers. So we need those audio and video evidences!!
As the Peace brokers progress with their investigations, production and examination of those video and audio evidences will help to conclusively establish not only the extent of their respective culpability in that enterprise to deprive the electorate of their choice of a more popular candidate, but also to ascertain at precisely which point of Mohamed Konneh’s announcement of those fictitious results did the United States request Bio to have interfered with the processes. This will further enable all of us/them to determine whether it is for a full, partial or just at the run-off stage that should be recommended as the baseline for any potential re-run.
3. Were the final results announced by Mohamed Konneh reflective of the disaggregated calculations and tabulations transmitted from Polling Booths, Stations, Centers, Wards, Constituencies, Districts and Regional levels before or after President Bio’s alleged influencing by the US to interfere? Or were they premised on premeditated figures concocted and influenced by the 56.1% Institute for Governance Reforms (IGR) indicators floated in Bio’s favour prior to the elections, and which were evidently based on those equally concocted Mid-Term Census figures earlier compiled by Statistics Sierra Leone?
4. And incidentally why was it necessary to have ordered that violent and unprovoked Security Sector assault on the main opposition APC Party headquarters that almost culminated in the assassination of Dr. Samura Kamara and in a loss of the valuable life of Matron Dumbuya after the government had already known in advance that the results were clearly in favour of the incumbent Head of State? Incidentally who gave those orders and what was the motive?
5. Given President Bio did not heed influences by the United States to have meddled in and interfered with the elections results outcomes but like he asserted had won the APC candidate hands down, would it not be safe therefore to conclude that there is absolutely nothing wrong with the edicts enshrined in our Constitution, our Electoral and other subset laws pertaining to the conduct of periodic national elections in this country Laws as they are, but that if any amendments to them are needed they should be restricted to curtailing the powers of an incumbent Head of State over the national security architecture during electioneering periods to avoid them confusing and prioritizing their obligatory loyalty to the Constitution with that of an incumbent Chief Executive?
6. And assuming the status quo should continue, should we not might as well expect much worse to happen to during all ensuing elections as successive Heads of State attempt to perpetuate their incumbency using the state security apparatus until age, decrepitude and senility compels them to (as SLPP Chairman Dr. Prince Harding has vowed in the case of President Bio), hand over power only to his own preferred choice of successor – whether or not they emerge from within his household?
Could such situations not be tantamount to an incumbent leader implicitly and seamlessly transiting Sierra Leone into a “ONE PARTY” system of government without so much as altering our national constitution?
In conclusion my fervent hope is that this piece will serve as an aide-memoire to guide the APC and SLPP parties in their proposed deliberations with the International Peace Brokers for a way out of our current political quagmire, which should start with an unwavering demand by the APC for Mohammed Konneh to first produce those disaggregated results countrywide. And there should be no compromises in that demand because it is these same kinds of compromising “Sour Grapes” that past politicians settled for on the altars of greed and selfishness that is setting our teeth on edge today. It will be unforgiveable for us to repeat those same mistakes. After all as we would say in Krio: “If D Forl Whyte: E Whyte!!”.
Ours is not an “Animal Kingdom” where “might is right”, and nobody should believe they have a monopoly over hatred. So whatever the expected outcomes of meetings with the Peace Brokers, the APC must ensure the peoples’ votes are jealously protected as promised by our Leader Dr. Samura Kamara and reflective solutions that will set a Road Map for restitution of the people’s stolen (Presidential and Parliamentary) electoral mandates.
Any outcomes hinging on a capitulation by the APC, or on a continuation of the status quo and we might as well be thinking of expunging from our statutes offenses and penalties for “Receiving Stolen Goods, Chattels and Mandates” and “Obtaining Goods, Chattels and Mandates Under False Pretenses”.
There is no law anywhere in the world by which villains are allowed to enjoy the full benefits of what by law belongs to their victims and in share and share alike.
P.S-: For very good reasons I have deliberately omitted any reference to the Independent National Commission for Peace and Reconciliations throughout this piece. However both APC and SLPP should make it their duty to explain the English translation of the phrase: “After all if D Forl Whyte: E Whyte” to the International Peace Brokers well before they start engagements.