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S/Leone poll rivals in election dispute

Nov 21, 2012, 9:19 AM

Three days after Sierra Leone’s elections, the two leading parties - the All People’s Congress (APC) and the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) - have been engaged in a mind game of victory claims and counter-claims.

The ruling APC announced in a press conference on Monday that it has won the elections by 61%. About an hour later, the opposition SLPP also convened its own press conference and contested the APC statement, alleging “widespread irregularities”.

The SLPP Secretary General insisted that they would “not accept the results if the NEC does not address our concerns”.

This political awkwardness on the part of the country’s two oldest political parties has generated some anxiety among the general populace, and appears to tarnish the huge international acclamation the people of Sierra Leone have won by their outstanding organization of and comportment during the polls.

Meanwhile, the NEC’s chairperson, Christiana Thorpe, has said in a press statement issued on Tuesday that about 75% of the results are being processed. She said based on the spate at which the process is going, final results may be announced in the next two days.

Ms Thorpe added that the SLPP and APC agents were present in all the regional tally centers and that with the assistance of the United Nations Integrated Peace building in Sierra Leone (UNIPSIL), everything was under control. She made an unannounced on- the- spot visit to all the regional tally centers to monitor the process.

With regards to the complaints of fraud, Ms Thorpe confirmed that NEC has heard the complaints from the SLLP and that after its (NEC) own investigation, it would take a decision based on the electoral laws.

As the tallying process continues, an elections body, the National Elections Watch (NEW) has urged all Sierra Leoneans to maintain the spirit of peace that has characterized the election.