Sierra Leone E.U Elections

By Reginald Bala Kargbo


The only utility that the EU Election Observation Report may have taught Sierra Leoneans is that we must mobilise attention and focus on the electoral systems review and post-elections dialogue.

The people of Sierra Leone are tired of accusations and counteraccusations. It’s time to move on.

Let us trust our local institutions to review the prevailing legal framework, related institutional and operational arrangements, and all critical local and international observer missions’ reports before they can propose reforms to better our situation.

I am of the belief that no government in Sierra Leone’s electoral history, since independence in 1961, including governments in post-conflict Sierra Leone, has run a perfect election.

For example, the late John Karefa Smart thought he won the 1996 presidential election, but the situation was resolved locally and President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah had time to concentrate on governance. 2002 also had its own disagreements. In 2007, over 400 polling station results in SLPP strongholds were cancelled illegally, but Solomon Berewa still conceded to Ernest Koroma.

In the elections that followed, Julius Maada Bio eventually conceded to Ernest Bai Koroma in the 2012 elections even though he believed he won the election. He went to court and lived with the outcome of the process. Today, Samura Kamara is yet to accept that he lost in 2018 to Julius Maada Bio and he is still in elections denial mode in 2023.

Actually, I was as concerned and agitated as many others in the APC about the way and manner the 2023 election was conducted as well as the outcome. I wished that the election could be done again, and I eagerly wanted my candidate Samura Kamara to be president.

But as time progressed and I had deeper reflections on the post-election concerns and foreign policy inconsistencies on the part of international partners, my gut feeling told me to trust our domestic institutions more. And so, I decided to stand by the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) and other local institutions and I believe they can be supported to function better.

I quite agree with a number of the findings and recommendations contained in the EU elections observer report (which have always been part of our national discourses anyway), but what is the endgame?

If the abundance of the issues and recommendations raised by EU are meant to support Sierra Leone to strengthen its electoral processes, then we really did not need an EU report before we can agree with President Bio’s setting up of an electoral review committee.

President Bio had done a diagnosis of the issues, and he rightly proposed comprehensive electoral systems review after he identified that there were logistical limitations.


Copy right –Printed in the Expo Times  Week end Newspaper on Friday  13th October, 2023 (ExpoTimes News – Expo Media Group (