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Thursday, August 16, 2007

SIERRA LEONE: A Run-Off Is UnLikely?

Landslide victory: the redundant cliché of the disgruntled membership of the incumbent government seems to have been knocked-off the political diction of Sierra Leone. August 11 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections have come and gone but the political predictions that were postulated by particularly “Solocrats” seems far fetched.

Prior to the elections, there was the belief amongst sympathizers, supporters and the international community (may be) that the positive bench- marks of President Kabbah’s out-going government would earn SLPP’s flag bearer an overwhelming victory in the elections. This optimism was never properly evaluated by the galaxy of political technocrats that were always seen enveloping the presence of “Solo B” in his places of campaign before the elections.

In fact, it is no exaggeration that he vigilantly toured every corner of the jurisdiction of Sierra Leone to be double sure of victory in the elections. It is even needless to account for the exorbitant amount of money he invisibly gave out to individuals that posed to be supporters of the SLPP. The overwhelming presence and participation of the inhabitants of the communities visited by Solo B gave him a false sense of security and confidence.

From the reports and data so far collected on the elections results it is unequivocal that there would not be any run-off election. Voting even ended before 5pm in most polling stations because of the low number of electorates that registered for the elections and this was followed by the counting of the ballot papers, in the presence of the Domestic and International Observers and some parties’ agent. Though there were insignificant violent clashes within and outside handful polling stations, in particularly the Eastern part of Freetown, they never influenced the outcome of the elections.

The results so far declared by the National Electoral Commission on the performance of the political parties in the Western Rural and Urban Areas are suggestive of the fact that the APC’s Ernest Koroma and parliamentary contestants are on the lead. The SLPP’s Solo B is distantly creeping behind the APC, whilst PMDC’s Margai is third in the row. The four remaining political parties cannot easily occupy the political scale of NEC. Their performance levels in those areas are disproportionately low and should not be carefully looked into. NEC’s declaration of the Western Area’s Presidential and Parliamentary Elections result have opened a Pandora’s Box amongst scholars and grassroots in this nation. Those results have been interpreted to mean that the outgoing SLPP government has done little or nothing for the people of Freetown. It has also negative the issue of landslide victory in this first round of elections.

Fortunately for the APC, the results declared by NEC for some of the polling stations in the Northern Province are likely in their favour. Simply put, the APC is leading the political contest and there is a gulf between them and the SLPP. As usual, the PMDC is the third in the leadership hierarchy. Some of the parties that are said to have originated from the Northern Region have hardly made any impact in those communities. Again, the outcome of the elections is not supportive of the ruling party’s winning a landslide victory over the opposition parties.

Apart from some parts of the Western Area, the Northern Region and the South- Eastern Regions NEC has not officially declared much of the elections result. The good thing however, is that the independent radio network which is commonly called IRN has reported on the outcome of almost every region in Sierra Leone. Most of those reports seem to be in favour of the leadership of the APC with regards the presidential results.

Despite NEC’s advise to the people of this nation not to accept the results broadcast, by independent institutions, media houses and supporters of all the contesting political parties have mostly relied on those broadcasts. If those results so far aired by the IRN should be undoubted then landslide victory for the SLPP’s Solocrats was a figment of their imagination. The view now held by even sympathizers of the SLPP is that the APC has won the elections. The question that would obviously come to mind is what are the variables considered in arriving at this point?

For the political gurus of the APC, the registered voters in Southern and Eastern Regions put together would not exceed the number of registered voters in the Northern Region. As far as they are concerned, the Northern Region has the highest number of registered voters in the whole country. The Northern Region has always been the traditional strong hold of the APC. This does not mean that other parties have not secured votes in this area. In fact the SLPP made a laudable effort in the Northern Region. The fact still remains that the leadership of the APC has won an overwhelming victory in the area that has the highest number of registered voters. It simply implies that winning in that area would deny Solo B the victory, let alone a landslide victory he had always anticipated in the outcome of the election.

In the Southern Region, the SLPP seems to have triumphed over the APC and the PMDC from a wholistic point of view. Interestingly or rather surprisingly PMDC’s Charles Margai, now called “the Destroyer” has successfully swayed the high expectations of his biological party (SLPP). What this mean is that the sweeping victory Margai’s supporters are claiming to have won over particularly the “Solocrats” in significant proportions of the Southern Region cannot make real the SLPP’s dream of a landslide victory. In the 2002 Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, the SLPP had an exceptional victory over the main opposition in this same area which now is being divided amongst them. Where is the landslide victory coming from now?

Fortunately, the wise patriotic, seemingly rich and fanatic supporters of the SLPP in the Eastern Region have been very unequivocal in expressing their undivided loyalty for the party. Results so far broadcast by both NEC and the IRN confirm the marathon lead of Solo B and the SLPP over the APC and PMDC. Those votes won by the two opposition parties multiplied by one hundred would still not amount to the success of the “SLPP.” But more importantly, this is the only area in which the SLPP has received such support from the electorates to date.

Earning a hundred percent victory in the Eastern Region, which is unrealistic, is in itself insufficient to confirm the SLPP’s utopian view of landslide victory that was almost a sing- song in this nation.

Without bias and from the analysis so far posited by the political conscious class of Sierra Leone, one would expressly state that the lullaby song in Sierra Leone with regards hosting a run-off election is premature, unrealistic and against the prophetic statements of the realm of the spirit.


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