The Chairperson of NEC Christiana Thorpe on Wednesday 23 July 2008 presented certificates to councilors and Chairperson/Mayor of Kenema city and the district.
The ceremony took place at the Kenema District Council Hall along Maxwell Khobe Street in Kenema where hundreds of SLPP party supporters were in attendance while thousands of them were on the streets singing and dancing as the ceremony progressed.
Thousands of party supporters dressed in their party T-shirts and and colours, some with palm fronds as symbols in their hands as they danced along the streets of Kenema. They were on the street up to 7 pm. All the councilors and the Chairman of the Kenema district council and the city Mayor were in attendance as they processed along the streets.
Addressing the audience before the distribution of certificates, the Regional Commissioner East Sylvanus Torto thanked and congratulated all for winning the election in a clear and fair way. “Your election is to be proud of but do not forget about the wishes of the people. The wishes of the people are the wish of God.” He reminded the winners that in every election there are always losers, “there are always people out there who are not chosen by the people. You should also be in a position to listen to the voice of the minority. It may not be always wrong and there is nothing wrong if you listen to them and you are not forced to go by their wishes, but listen to what they say. It might help the whole lot. He also reminded those who are coming into the council for the first time to get themselves more acquainted with the Local government Act in which they will find the proceedings of councils, how to work in meetings, and other dealings.
He suggested to them to make the Act as their Bible, because the wishes of the people is actually laid down in the Act. “Also in the Act concentrate on things like the functions of the local councils, duties of councilors and among all occasionally get yourself reading the constitution itself especially areas pertaining to the local government. That reflects to all of us so that we can see and know whether they are going in the right direction for the benefit of all.”
He stressed that this is the first time in the history of this country that results of elections are being read at provincial level. That shows that the country is progressing. This is the best attempt to actually up hold the promises of the principle of decentralization. At the starting point it will be with the people who are directly involved in the process.
NEC decided to do the presentation of certificates at district level just to simplify the electoral process of our country so that the people will know what is happening. He described it as a progression and NEC will progress further by letting the people know all in the electoral process.
In his vote of thanks the Mayor of the Kenema city council Chief Brima Kargbo says he is proud to receive a certificate from the Commissioner for his winning and on behalf of all the councilors expressed thanks to the chairperson for her work, which he described as good work. He also extended his sincere thanks to the military and the police for their role in maintaining peace during the electioneering process.
Chief Kargbo disclosed that they have been hearing a lot about the results in a negative way saying that Kenema will not be getting the proper result because of certain things, which he did not explain. Today they all are surprised to see the commissioner giving certificates to the SLPP candidates of Kenema town and its environs. He said in SLPP their hands are always open to receive everybody so that peace will remain as they fought for peace. He extended invitation to all to join them so that they can make Kenema city and the district a better place for all to live. He advised the police to remain common and be talking to us during future elections as brothers and sister of the same country saying that the police are there to serve the government and it is the people that is the government. He appealed to the police and all to work as a team to develop the country for them and the future generation. He called on his colleague councilors to make sure that they encourage all those contesting councilors who did not win the election because they need them to come on board so that they can all work in the interest of the people. “Talk to them that we are all the same and tomorrow might be their own day, so let them all come on the train.” He thanked the regional office for their good work during the election, saying that they did the nations job and not for themselves. He ended by saying that SLPP is the oldest party in this country. He extended invitation to all to come on board for the development of the district. In her statement Christiana Thorpe disclosed that for the last three nights she has been having sleepless night in order to sign the certificates of the councilors and Mayors/Chairpersons. She says she is very happy because the council has an increased number of women. She expressed her thanks and appreciation to the police for their role in ensuring peaceful elections throughout the country. The commissioner said that those who will be receiving the certificates are not councilors yet, but winning candidates of the elections. You will get your certificate and that will qualify you for the inauguration during which you will be made councilors. She said the minister of Local government and the President will come on board and inaugurate you all as councilors and she hoped that it will be done soon. And you start counting your four years term of office only after the last councilor has been inaugurated. “We are trying to properly lay down everything as from now so that Sierra Leone like any other country can go according to the norms of the electioneering process.” She called them as stakeholders and they must know what they are coming in to do. “You have been elected but when you go back into your communities do not forget who elected you. You owe allegiance to the people who elected you and your own responsibility to God for you to do your work.” She told them to know that being elected is not the end because every one of them have people who like them and those who do not like them, but that does not matter. The important thing is you have to do what you are sworn in to do. You know that Kenema district has a lot of development work to be done and that has fallen squarely on your shoulders.” Pointing out that those who have been in the council know what she is talking about. Within the three years if you did not do what you are supposed to do forget about it because the fourth year is meant for campaigning. The people have put their trust in you she said “do not disappoint them at all. The nation depends on the good work we do, make sure you do your work well without fear and without favour. Fear no man but God in doing your work and if we all work in that spirit the country will progress and develop. Let us all join hands together to push our country forward in whatever we are doing. As I’m giving you the certificate I’m very happy because you have won and I hope that all of you will join hands together whether you win or not all of you remain as brothers and sisters of Sierra Leone. The region is peaceful for development.” She appealed to the wining councilors to forget about themselves and work for the people who elected them. Even if it come to the area that you are to die for your people be ready to do it, it is God that will bless you.