Appeals delay local election results

[Sierra Leone] Eugene Davies, National Elections Commissioner speak as he annonced the delay of results for the May 2003 elections.
Eugene Davies, Chief Electoral Commissioner (IRIN)

Chief Electoral Commissioner Eugene Davies told journalists on Friday that results from last Saturday’s local elections would be delayed while 68 separate appeals were investigated.

Between the close of polls on 22nd May and up to the 27th May, "the Commission received a total of 68 appeals from political parties and independent candidates," said Davies. "It would not be proper where there are appeals for us to release all the results."

Results for Westward 2 and Eastward 3 in Freetown, Bombali in the western, Port Loko and Tonkolili Districts in the north; Bo, Moyamba, and Pujehun districts in the south of the country have all been withheld, said Davies.

The Chief electoral commissioner explained that 'appeals' are made to the electoral commission while ‘petitions' are an issue for the courts. According to Davies most of the appeals concerned "intimidation and under aged voting."

Since the polls, election officials have been harassed.

"We have very bad losers,” explained Davies. “On Sunday our vehicles were stoned at night. The windscreens of two of our vehicles were destroyed, so my impression is that we have bad losers."

The ruling Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP) held a press conference Wednesday, where the party Chairman Dr Sama Banya complained of malpractices and irregularities during the elections.

"In some areas of the western area and the northern regions the Presiding officers unjustifiably excluded the party's agents and counting agents,"

Banya accused opposition parties of multiple voting.

"Opposition party supporters who were in possession of several voter slips without photographs voted more than once,” said Banya.

However, Davies dismissed the SLPP’s complaints.

"The SLPP, wherever they lose, they complain of malpractice and under-aged voting; the APC [All People’s Congress] wherever they lost they complain of malpractice, under-aged voting and intimidation - this is the picture" he said.

Davies advised all the political parties to address their strategies to explain their lack of success.

“All those who have not performed so well in these elections... to re-examine their strategies and improve on their performances next time round, instead of making unsubstantiated allegations of unfair treatment and malpractices."

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