By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The Secretary General of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Umaru Napoleon Koroma, has stated that they will stoutly reject any attempt to disrupt the June 24th multi-tier elections, as echoed by main opposition All Peoples Congress (APC).
While the APC has demanded that the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) makes available detail voter register, he noted that there is no law that requires EC-SL to give a national Register of Voters to political parties.
He said any attempt by the ECSL to provide political parties the disaggregated data of voters, including voters’ identification numbers, voters addresses, dates and places of birth will not only be in contravention of the privacy and confidentiality of voters, but will also endanger the lives and security of voters.
Napoleon was speaking at the SLPP party headquarters on Wallace Johnson Street, where he addressed journalists in response to the call made by the APC presidential candidate, Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara, for the resignation of the EC-SL Chairman and all other commissioners.
He noted that SLPP was gravely concerned about the deliberate attempts by the APC to disrupt the peaceful elections and reverse the democratic gains Sierra Leone has made since the return to multi-party democracy in the late 1990s.
He said on 11th May 2023, APC released a press Statement which contained a call for a nationwide protest and the said press statement was followed by various threats bordering on national security by the leadership of the APC, including the National Secretary General, Lansana Dumbuya Esq., and the former APC Chairman of the Western Area Rural District Council, Kasho Holland Cole.
He said the demand by the APC Presidential Candidate for the resignation of the Chief Electoral Commissioner and other Electoral Commissioners is an outrageous attempt to use the Board of Electoral Commissioners as scapegoats for the ill-preparedness of the APC for the 24h June 2023 multi-tier elections.
He said the suggestion by the APC Presidential Candidate to replace the Board of Electoral Commissioners with an “independent internationally accredited team of electoral commissioners” to conduct Sierra Leone’s national elections, was disrespectful to their collective consciousness, an attack on the sovereignty of Sierra Leone and a spectre of his unfitness to be elected as President and sovereign Head of State.
He said the appointment of the Chief Electoral Commissioner was approved by the Parliament of Sierra Leone following due parliamentary scrutiny by the ruling and opposition Members of Parliament including APC members, noting that the accusation of any political association against the Chief Electoral Commissioner re-echoes a smear campaign by the APC, which should be roundly rejected by every well-meaning Sierra Leonean.
Napoleon said APC participated in Political Parties Liaison Committee meetings, where concerns relating to the electoral process have been raised and the ECSL has addressed those concerns in the presence of other political parties and members of the civil society.
“The bogus demands and unacceptable deadline by the APC Presidential Candidate are merely characteristic shenanigans by a political party desperately seeking a postponement of the 24th June 2023 multi-tier elections that has the tendency to create a constitutional crisis in our country,” he said.
He said the controvertible statement by the APC Presidential Candidate, Dr. Samura Mathew Wilson Kamara at the press conference, was nothing more than a compendium of unsubstantiated claims, conjectures, blatant inaccuracies and preposterous allegations by a candidate who is apprehensive of an embarrassing defeat at the forthcoming polls.
He said the APC Presidential Candidate’s repeated assertion that the only outcome of a free and fair elections the APC will accept is APC Victory’ sets a dangerous tone to premeditated post-election violence by APC.
He said the unfounded assertion was akin to the narrative the APC Presidential Candidate created in 2018 when he realised the APC had lost the elections to the SLPP and subsequently refused to concede defeat.