Spread the love

Election Probe…

By Sylvanus Fornah Koroma (What A Man!)

One of the principal tasks of the Tripartite Committee in the Examination of the June 2023 multitier elections is to ensure that the said election results are published by notice in the Gazette. It is the function of the National Returning Officer, Mr. Konneh, to publish the long-awaited June 2023 multi-tier elections results that he has so far failed to Gazette! The continuation of the refusal to publish the said results as per law provides is a potential recipe for chaos and stalemate in the governance of our beloved country, Sierra Leone. There is so much to write about at this stage of the work of the Tripartite Committee, and we need not allow detractors to move us from the goal that will usher justice to the country’s or nation’s quest for stability. Let us remain focused and ensure the right things are done now by bringing out the facts and law for the needful to be done accordingly. 

As the name implies, ‘Tripartite’ involves three (3) parties, and for this purpose the 3 parties are:

  1. The Government of Sierra Leone
  2. The All Peoples Congress (APC) party
  3. The Development Partners (International Community).

Any attempt to change the composition of the Tripartite would be suspicious and not be accommodated by many. In fact, it would be considered as a deliberate attempt to skew the process and a means to exacerbate confusion in the entire process and a potential to derail the process to an unwarranted confusion in our fragile state, Sierra Leone.

 Furthermore, it must be noted that the Tripartite does not include the Sierra Leone People’s

Party (SLPP), but only those of its members who are public servants and enjoy directly from the Consolidated Revenue of Fund of Sierra Leone known as the Government. This point is very significant because certain laws bind those who are in Government as they are unique beneficiaries to the consolidated revenue that we generate as state citizens. For instance, the staff and members of the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) are public servants who enjoy the consolidated revenue fund in terms of their salaries and other benefits, and the Commissioners’ appointments are made by the President according to section 32 subsection (3) of the 1991Constitution of Sierra Leone. That said, it behooves the Government to ensure that ECSL and other government institutions that are beneficiaries of the consolidated revenue fund respectfully comply with the examination mandate of the June 2023 elections of the Tripartite Committee.

Based on the above, it will not be advisable to subscribe to the comments of anyone who is suggesting that the ECSL must not do what the laws provide for them to do especially regarding the result of the election to be published by notice in the Gazette. This is part of the duties of the National Returning Officer of ECSL, Mr. Konneh, and it is mandatory! So, let us not be bothered by any misinformation or misconception of the law even if Dr Gaima, the Minister of

Information, and the Chief Minister said they cannot tell ECSL to abide by the laws. The law has to prevail to ensure Justice, and as a progressive nation, we must ensure that the right things are done this time.

In law, “to Gazette” refers to the official publication of certain legal notices, regulations, appointments, or announcements in a government gazette or official publication. The rationale behind gazetting is to ensure transparency, inform the public, and give legal effect to the matters being published. “To publish results of elections” means making the outcome of an election publicly available and officially recognized. This typically includes announcing the winners of various positions, sharing the number of votes received by each candidate, and providing details about voter turnout and any relevant statistics including polling stations by polling stations information as tallied and computed. Publishing election results promotes transparency, allows for scrutiny and verification of the electoral process by employing the use of the Result Reconciliation Forms (RRF), and ensures that the public is informed about the outcome of the elections.


The National Returning Officer, Mr. Konneh, has so far not provided any reason for his refusal to cause the result of the June 2023 elections to be published by notice in the Gazette. However, there are a plethora of laws that provide for the National Returning Officer and ECSL to comply with the law. For instance, under the functions of the Commission in section 7 subsection (1) paragraphs (g) and (h) of the Public Elections Act 2022 (PEA 2022) state: 

“7(1): The object of the Commission is to perform the following functions, in accordance with section 33 of the Constitution –

  • the promotion of sound democratic election processes; and
  • such other functions may be provided for by the Constitution, this Act or any other enactment.”

In line with its function, the ECSL in section 32 subsection (11) of the 1991 Constitution of Sierra

Leone also provides: “In the exercise of any functions vested in it by this Constitution, the

Electoral Commission shall not be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.” The National Returning Officer, Mr. Konneh, and by extension ECSL, are blatantly flouting the exercise of their functions and laws of the land, by failing to timely publish the election results as stated in sections 51 subsection (2), section 52 paragraph (b), and section 93 of the PEA 2022. All of the three aforementioned sections of the PEA  2022 used the phrase “As soon as possible …” indicating that time is of the essence, and it signifies urgency or promptness with which something should be done or completed. In other words, the phrase “As soon as possible…” indicates that something should be done without unnecessary delay or as quickly as can be managed,  depending on the context in which it’s used. The rationale for the three provisions to be read in tandem with section 54 subsection (1) of the same is for obvious significance and section 54 subsection (1) states: “A person who is a citizen of Sierra Leone and has lawfully voted may, in a presidential election challenge the validity of that election by petition to the Supreme Court within 7 days after the declaration of the result of a presidential election under subsection (2) of section 51.” Therefore, the election results must have been published within the 7-day timeframe to give room for the RRF to be used to verify the said official results, and thus direct the appropriate actions taken thereafter!

 So, because of the time limit of the 7-day period that is opened to a person who has lawfully voted to challenge the results by petition to the Supreme Court, it can be easily deduced that the repetitive phrase “As soon as possible…”  in sections 52 paragraph (b), and 93 of the PEA 2022 were purposeful and instructive that the results must be published and Gazetted as soon as possible so as not to disadvantage the petitioner. In that light, the refusal to publish and Gazette the June 2023 Presidential election results and even the General elections is a deliberate ploy to disadvantage one political party and to favour another. This itself is a statutory offence in our laws. For a clear perspective, the refusal of Konneh (and by extension ECSL) to publish the result is a breach of the PEA 2022 in both sections 52 paragraph (b), and 93. Section 52(b) states: “The National Returning Officer shall, after declaring the presidential election – as soon as possible, cause the result to be published by notice in the Gazette and in any other manner that he may think fit.” Section 93 reemphasized the law on the Presidential election and extended the same law to the elections of the Members of Parliament and state thus: “As soon as may be after the National Returning Officer has declared the result of the election or elections under subsection (4) of section 93, the Electoral Commission shall publish the results so declared in the case of an election of –

  • President, in the manner described in section 52; and
  • Members of Parliament, by Government Notice and in any other manner as he may think


For the deliberate refusal to publish the election results by the ECSL Mr. Konneh, without explaining and providing any law for his action and inaction, and without providing any excuse, pro-active institutions should have joined us in demanding the publishing and Gazetting of the said results. One would have expected the Anti-Corruption Commission to have stepped in long ago on the blatant abuse of office by the National Returning Officer, but we are still waiting to see its late action in such a very sensitive and important matter. The Anti-Corruption Act 2008 And Amendments provide for ‘Abuse of Office’ in section 42, ‘Abuse of Position’ in section 43, and ‘Public officer using his office for advantage’ in section 44 of the same. Let me leave you with what the Anti- Corruption Act 2008 And Amendments states in the aforementioned sections, and encourage you to think deeply about the inactions and actions of the AntiCorruption Commission in current day Sierra Leone:

Section 42(1): A public officer who uses his office to improperly confer an advantage on himself or any other person commits an offence.

42(2): A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) shall on conviction be liable to a fine not less than thirty million leones or to imprisonment for a term not less than 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

Section 43. A public officer who knowingly abuses his position in the performance or failure to perform an act, in contravention of any law, in the discharge of his functions or duties commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not less than thirty million leones or to imprisonment for a term not less than 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.

Section 44(1) : Subject to subsection (3), a public officer who makes use of his office or position for an advantage for himself or another person commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not less than thirty million leones or to imprisonment for a term not less than 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment. 

44(2): For the purposes of subsection (1), a public officer shall be presumed until the contrary is proved, to have made use of his office or position for an advantage where he has taken any decision or action in relation to any matter in which he or a relative or associate of his, has a direct or indirect interest.

44(3): This section shall not apply to a public officer who-

  • holds office in a public body as a representative of a body corporate which holds shares or interests in that public body; and
  • Acts in that capacity in the interest of that body corporate. 


Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *