Sierra Leone’s presidential and general elections marred by electoral fraud and voter suppression
By Sierra Leone Telegraph.
Polling closed late into yesterday evening in Sierra Leone across many areas, due to delays in the delivery of ballot papers in several polling stations. Millions of people had queued-up outside polling centres well before 7am when voting should have commenced.
However, in several towns and cities, voting did not start until mid-day, leaving voters frustrated and angry at election officials.
In some polling stations, there were serious allegations of ballot box stuffing by agents of the ruling SLPP party, some of whom were caught on video carrying boxes of pre-filled ballot papers.
In Magburaka, northern Sierra Leone, a schoolteacher serving as an election official was arrested by police and mobbed by voters. He was accused of taking unauthorised ballot box into the polling station on behalf of the ruling SLPP.
In several other polling stations, election officials were accused of voter suppression after voters carrying official voter ID cards were told they could not vote because their home addresses were wrongly entered into the register.
In some cases, for example, voters were wrongly told to travel miles away from Freetown to vote, even though they are residents of Freetown and have never lived anywhere else.
Voting was expected to continue well after 5pm – the official closing time, but in many polling centres, as night fell voting had to be stopped due to lack of electricity, causing chaos, anger and confusion among voters.
By late last night, social media was awash with fake election results, with many showing the ruling SLPP winning outrightly, whilst others declaring Samura Kamara’s opposition APC the winner.
Official results of the elections will not be declared by the Electoral Commission until all ballots have been tallied starting today. This is what ECSL said yesterday evening in a statement:
“The Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) will like to inform the public, Elections Stakeholders and Political Parties that the tallying of the June 24,, 2023 Multitier Election Results will commence on Sunday 25th June 2023 in the respective Regional Tally Centres.
“Locations: Western Area National Data Centre,15 Industrial Estate, Wellington, Freetown; South Region ECSL Regional Office, Reservation Road, Bo City; East Region
ECSL Regional Office, Reservation Road, Kenema City; North Region ECSL Regional Office, Azzolinni Highway, Makeni City; Northwest District Council Hall, Port Loko City.
Time: 8:00 am
Political Parties, Interested National and International Observers and the Media are invited to observe the tallying process.
NOTE: Only two (2) persons per institution (media, Domestic/International Observer) will be allowed.”
ECSL also published its post-elections preliminary report yesterday:
But the main opposition APC have complained of serious electoral irregularities that had disadvantaged its voters across several polling stations. This is what APC said:
Source Sierra Leone Telegraph.