Candidates who contested the Local council elections under the All Peoples Congress (APC) party, People¼s Movement for Democratic Change (PMDC) party and Independent candidates have made a verbal complaint about election malpractices in the past local council elections to the Resident Minister East Hon. William Juana Smith at his Maxwell Khobe street office in Kenema on Tuesday 8, 2008.
Speaking to the press at his office on Tuesday afternoon he said the candidates were led by Martin Bayoh from Gorama Mende chiefdom, and the aggrieved candidates came from Dodo, Nongowa, Simbaru, Koya, Gorama Mende chiefdoms and in Kenema city respectively.
They complained that there was fraud in the past elections such as over voting, non availability of voters name and other particulars in the voter register, late starting of the voting process, misplacement of the ballot papers, exchange of ballot papers at polling stations in places like Dodo chiefdom, Gorama mende, Nongowa chiefdom, Koya and Simbaru chiefdoms in the Kenema district, citing the instance at Potehun and Nikabo villages in the Nongowa chiefdom.
The Resident Minister said at Potehun voting started very late about one hour to closing time and that only 40 people voted out of the 700 on the voter list. He added that the candidates further complained that they are being threatened and provoked for losing the elections in their respective locations.
The Resident Minister East said in his response to the visiting candidates, he told them to back home quietly but make sure they make their complaint formal by putting it on paper and present it to NEC and PPRC before 5Pm on the same day they were with him.
He encouraged them all to be law abiding as they are in government by reporting to the nearest police station if anybody threatens or provokes them. He advised them not to take the law in to their hands because if there is any problem the government in power will give more resources to the police inorder to restore order which will disturb the functioning of the government.
Mr. Smith warned those who are dancing now to stop, because the results that are coming out of the radio stations are just provisional results and are temporary and he therefore called on all to wait for the final result that will come out on the 23rd, saying that any statement now before the 23rd is not authentic or official especially when there are lots of complaints emerging from the past elections.
He said after the final result whosoever is not satisfied will go to the election court by writing a petition.
When the press went to the election office to cross check the information the Senior Election Officer East Philip Kargbo was not at the office at the moment and there was no body to talk to the press but when contacted on phone he admitted receiving complaints from PMDC and APC candidates and he is now on his way going to the internet to make it available to Freetown before the dead line and therefore could not talk about the detail at the moment but promise to do so later. Effort to talk to the visiting candidates proved futile.
By Saffa Moriba in Kenema