A reporter working for the citizen radio 103.7 yesterday displayed over 70 ballot papers which have already been marked to the National Electoral Commission, claiming that these ballot papers were brought to their station by over 300 youths who told them that they apprehended these ballot papers and some ballot boxes from a polling station at Muslim Congress school, Kissy, Mess Mess.
In response, the almost perfectly calm Western Area Commissioner, Daphne Williams said that the Polling center in question is Centre no 14063.
She went on “we received reports that the polling centre manager for that polling station was beaten mercilessly and she was taken to the hospital.
The center manager was taken to the police station on the allegation that she had taken sensitive materials to a store.”
The NEC Commissioner, Dr Christiana Thorpe also explained that indeed they had some specimen ballot papers with no candidate photos on them, ballot boxes and other non sensitive materials which were used to train their staff the previous day before elections and that these materials were left behind in all of the polling stations on the day of elections.
Dr. Thorpe said that because of the weather and other logistical problems these training materials were not taken away from the polling centers until the Election Day.
Commissioner Daphne Williams said that these were the materials the youths were alleging had been kept by the polling centre manager and her agents in a store.
The Western Area Commissioner said that when the polling manager went back to the store she discovered that the materials had been removed.
“They also discovered that the sensitive box that contained the ballot papers was also tampered with and some of the ballot papers were taken away from the box as well” she pointed out.
Madame Williams explained to Awoko that the counting had been finished at the center and that NEC was in possession of the results, which they were still holding on to. The youths she said had taken away the boxes with the ballot papers in them and NEC was waiting to find out whether the ballot papers they had taken belonged to the special votes or taken from the box. As yet she explained they had not inputted the results into their data system and they had also not invalidated the votes. She explained that the votes will be processed at some time and she hoped that they will be added on to the overall results as soon as the investigations were over. This was so as not to disenfranchise any of the apparently innocent voters whose ballot papers had been taken. When examined most of the ballot papers had been marked for the SLPP indicating that they were apparently in their collated state after being counted.
Commissioner Williams disclosed that “the results are in the quarantine and we are doing further investigation with the help of the police.”
Meanwhile the Nec Chairperson Christiana Thorpe ahas called on political party leaders to control their supporters and allow the counting to go on. She said that Sierra Leoneans have started the process well but we must try to continue to do well so that at the end of the day we will all hold our heads up high. This appeal was in response to claims of unrest or tension between supporters of the APC and SLPP.