Reminiscences of elections officials behaving compromisingly during last year’s general elections seem to have reared their heads during last month’s municipal and local council elections. As Saidu Bah reports, seventeen polling stations staff of the electoral commission across the country are being investigated for alleged elections malpractice.
While expressing regret for the “serious blunders”, the Chief Electoral Commissioner Christiana Thorpe told journalists yesterday that the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) was investigating the 17.
She said NEC had requested for the investigation and where appropriate the people would be prosecuted. She said the offending people were assigned to conduct the local council elections in Bombali, Koinadugu, Port Loko, Bo, Moyamba, Pujehun, Kono and in the Western Area Urban where “serious election irregularities took place.”
Dr Thorpe said the Commission had calculated results in Ward 85 in Kono where an error occurred and results from three polling stations were omitted from the final tally, resulting in the incorrect declaration of the election of one candidate. An error she blamed on human error.
Among the complaints submitted to the Commission and those identified by staff of the commission during and after the election, the DPP is expected to investigate 5 centers in Koinadugu, 5 in Bo, 1 Moyamba, 1 in Pujehun, 1 in Western Urban and 2 in Kono.
The NEC boss said candidates who contested in the affected wards had been duly informed about the alleged irregularities and that they were cooperating with the commission but said the anomalies would not affect the outcome of any the declared results. She assured that the culprits of any electoral fraud would be severely dealt with assuring that her commission would do everything to prevent future blunders.