The Chief Electoral Commissioner Dr Christiana Thorpe has appealed to those who are placing threatening calls to commissioners and staff of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to stop them forthwith.
Madame Thorpe reported an “increase in the number of threatening and intimidating calls and messages to NEC officials” at the daily press briefing at the NEC Press center at British Council Thursday.
She particularly named a World Bank official and appealed to him to “stop abusing and intimidating” NEC staff members and also to “desist from instructing (her) on (her) duties.”
In a voice devoid of rancour Dr Thorpe who said she was speaking on behalf of her commissioners and staff said “We’re just appealing that it is unpleasant we are all brothers and sisters and we don’t think this kind of thing should be happening just because of elections.”
She stated in a conciliatory tone “we are appealing to those who are doing it to please stop because it does not make for good living – after next week we have to live together we have to be together and continue to live as brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone so we are appealing to those who are doing this to please desist and don’t get carried away with whatever forces” adding “its an appeal from the Commission.”
Earlier the National Returning Officer, Dr Christiana Thorpe announced the results in which Ernest Bai Koroma (APC) is now polling 859,144 whilst Solomon Berewa (SLPP) is polling 567,449 with the APC candidate maintaining an increasing lead of 291,695 over Berewa.
In real votes, from Wednesday’s results, Ernest’s lead has increased by 126, 986 votes to 291,695 from the preceding results where Ernest was leading with 164,709.
Dr Thorpe said that the Commission was presenting results from all 14 districts and that 4,644 polling station results have been entered into the results database.
She said that the results represented 75.4% of all polling stations across the country (though the results sheet said 76.1%) and that there are now 1,513 polling stations pending whilst the average national turnout is currently 72.4% with 36,165 invalid votes, representing 2.5% of total votes cast.
Dr Thorpe pointed out that the verification process continues, in order to ensure that the official results are indeed those recorded in the polling stations and accurately reflect the will of the voters.
“One of the checks and balances instituted by the Commission is the unusual high levels of participation in some polling stations. The NEC has even noted results with turn-outs of 100% and over,” she disclosed.
She pointed out that in a meeting on 11 September, the Commissioners decided that voter turn-out of between 95% and 99% in a polling station, “will warrant an investigation only if there is a complaint from any one of the political parties or if there is an incident report on that particular polling station from the district office.”
Cases of voter turn-out of 100%, “ will warrant an immediate investigation even if there is no incident report and in cases of voter turn-out exceeding 100%, the station results “will warrant immediate invalidation.”
The NEC Chairperson said that implementing those decisions requires a substantial amount of work in the district offices so they (NEC) intend to start this work today (Friday) in order to enter the final stages of the tabulation process and that where recounts are required, they will be done in the presence of political party agents, observers and the Sierra Leone Police, at the NEC district offices.