Why Should APC Accept a Rigged Election?        

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By Sylvanus Fornah Koroma (What A Man!)

It is now blazingly clear that the adamant and deliberate refusal by the National Returning Officer, Mr.

Mohamed Konneh, and the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) to publish and gazette the June 2023 multi-tier election results is because what Konneh announced did not match the actual results and therefore did not reflect the will of the people. Konneh knows that our laws (the common law or judgemade law) require the gazetted results as evidence for the court. Without the gazetted results, the court would be inclined to throw the matter out because the petitioner has failed to provide the necessary evidence. In short, Mohamed Konneh and ECSL have rigged the elections and are now being protected from prosecution. There is no other reason for the refusal to follow due process and publish and gazette clean results for all to see and verify. This article brings to light issues surrounding the ‘Paopa mentality’ of boldly rigging elections in broad daylight without consequence and without following due process. This mentality led to the signing of the Communique in Sierra Leone that established the Tripartite Committee, which the author will discuss. The Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) leadership wrongly considers themselves the masters of the Sierra Leone political-governance system and would use all means to perpetuate their stay in governance, ensuring no one outside of them leads Sierra Leone.

SLPP Chairman Dr. Prince Harding publicly used derogatory words against his party’s opponent, the All Peoples Congress (APC), when reporting to his party leader Mr. Julius Maada Bio on his engagement with the European Union Chief Observer. He said, “We just had a academic intercourse with these academic dwarfs they send here as observers. I just told the President after our discourse with the EU Chief Observer, I said, do you think we are going to hand over to these madmen? I said we will never hand over power again to APC, not in this country.” Mr. Bio did not reprimand his Chairman for this speech. Instead, he collaborated with him in his first speech of 2024 to their party’s parliamentary members at a State Lodge dinner. Mr. Bio stated, “I want power, but what makes me go for power is because I do not want anyone to bully my people, my own party.” He continued to explain his plans to maintain power, stating that only when the SLPP is in charge will the country progress and know peace.

Do I need to remind Sierra Leoneans about Mr. Julius Maada Bio’s popular interview on AYV television about his position on rigged elections? For the sake of all persons, this was what Mr. Bio said when he was in opposition: “For the sake of peace if they have a rigged election, I will not accept it, for the same sake of peace because rigged elections lead to war.” This led the interviewer to probe further, asking Bio whether he was saying that people will go on the street. Mr. Bio responded, “I am not going to tell anyone to go to the street, but I have the right to protect their votes. We will resist anything that is violent; we will resist any attempt by NEC to lead a process that is not going to be clean. I will tell you for sure that we’re going to remain as peaceful as we can. We are going to take part in the process. We will not just accept a rigged election.” When asked if his statement implied anticipating war if he did not win, Mr. Bio replied with a question, “Are you anticipating that they are going to rig the election, or are you encouraging them to do that?” He concluded by stating, “For the same sake of peace if they rig this election, without me saying anything this country will go into war.”

This article is a wake-up call to all well-meaning Sierra Leoneans who have suffered injustices that led to the country’s civil war to stand up as free-born and lend their voices to stop this impunity of rigging elections in broad daylight. This article is long overdue, but now is the ripe time to address the outstanding issues that Mr. Julius Maada Bio has provocatively triggered, alongside his lieutenant, the ACC Boss Francis Ben Kaifala’s alleged electoral robbery at the Sierra Leone Bar Association Annual General Meeting in Kenema on Saturday, May 18, 2024. Kaifala’s actions supposedly answered the call of his political godfather. His godfather, Mr. Julius Maada Bio when addressing parliamentarians at the State Lodge dinner, laid out a plan for maintaining power. However, Kaifala’s infamous action in Kenema has given credence to the work of the Tripartite Committee to ensure that the impunity of rigging elections must end now. Most Sierra Leoneans now understand the game plan of the SLPP.

The Sierra Leone Bar Association elections, supposedly conducted by ACC Boss Francis Ben Kaifala as the Returning Officer, and the June 2023 multi-tier elections, conducted by the ECSL with Mohamed Konneh as the National Returning Officer, are two sides of the same coin. Both Returning Officers acted in violation of due process. Starting with ECSL’s Konneh, he violated the law by failing to publish and gazette the results of the June 2023 elections, making it impossible for anyone to challenge or petition the announced results within the stipulated seven days. The Anti-Corruption Act of 2008, as Amended, provides that for abuse of office and position, the Anti-Corruption Commission must inquire or summon Konneh to publish the results. However, the ACC and  Commissioner Ben Kaifala refused to act as stipulated Sections 42,43 and 44 of same because he is on the same team as Konneh. Similarly  Kaifala’s  conduct as a Returning Officer for the elections of the new executive for the Sierra Leone Bar Association  falls under the same offences of the Anti-Corruption Act 2008 as Amended, which deal with abuse of office, abuse of position, and public officer using his office for advantage. Section 45, which deals with conflict of interest, might also apply.

Kaifala’s imposition as the Returning Officer has muddied the waters for young lawyers like Alfred Kamanda, who claimed the position of Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Sierra Leone Bar Association and stated on the radio that Mr. Kofi declined his nomination as Returning Officer. This statement was refuted by lawyer Charles I. Williams, who confirmed that Mr. Kofi’s nomination was seconded, and he never declined. Mr. Kofi himself confirmed Williams’ assertion.

Regarding the elections of the Sierra Leone Bar Association, the General Legal Council has issued a press statement, beginning a possible resolution to the matter. Hopefully, elections will be held again, this time in Freetown. Regarding the June 2023 multi-tier elections, Sierra Leoneans are awaiting the recommendations of the Tripartite Committee’s report. 


Honourable Chairman Minkailu Mansaray, you are the National Chairman of the All Peoples Congress. You have written and signed press releases on behalf of the APC, showing your hands-on involvement in the party’s affairs. I implore you to read this article on Sierra Telegraph Online Newspaper, as they often attach video evidence to their publications. I say this so you are thoroughly informed. Mr. Julius Maada Bio is the Leader of the SLPP and has publicly stated his desire for power to protect his party people. During the June 2023 multi-tier elections, the APC leadership asked people to vote and assured them their votes would be protected. Chairman Minkailu Mansaray, you have stated that elections will be held by 2026. Can you please clarify this statement now that Mr. Julius Maada Bio has said no elections will be held in Sierra Leone until 2028? People want to know your position and the party’s position on the Tripartite Committee. 

As the political and symbolic head of the APC, people want to know your vision for the Tripartite Committee. Your vision will not pre-empt the committee’s findings but will help guide its outcome. If you fail to protect the votes through this Tripartite Committee report, Sierra Leoneans will be inclined to promote a crusade to change the APC Party leadership and the members of the Tripartite Committee. Mr. Julius Maada Bio has insinuated that the APC is a subject or slave that the SLPP must master. If the APC leadership fails to protect the votes, there will be no trust going forward.

I am not a member of the SLPP. In 2018, when the SLPP came into governance, they sacked almost everyone in the public sector who was not SLPP. I campaigned for an Ethnic Audit in the public sector, but my call was ignored. The government of Julius Maada Bio also implemented a policy to buy vehicles for public officers, fully paid for by the government, while officers paid only part from their salaries over time. Maintenance and fuelling of these vehicles are also on the government. Today, the wage bill is astronomically high, and there is no parity in wages and salaries. Many political appointees are believed to determine their salaries. I bring these issues to the attention of Sierra Leoneans to understand the ramifications of the provocative statements made by the SLPP leader when he said the opposition cannot stand ‘SUCK AIR’ or hard times.


For most Sierra Leoneans I have engaged with on the critical democratic issue of the June 2023 elections, many are hopeful about the outcome of the Tripartite Report to restore justice in the system. Many believe that the APC’s non-participatory political action, in response to ECSL’s deliberate failure to publish and gazette the results, was the best action ever taken to resolve the blatant electoral robbery and coup in Sierra Leone. This peaceful action by the APC led to the Communique Agreement, which now focuses on the Tripartite Committee’s report. Members of the Tripartite Committee from the APC should take time to listen to the comments made by Hon. Mathew Nyuma in Parliament during the debate on the parliamentary approval of the ECSL Commissioner for the Southern Province. Hon. Mathew Nyuma emphasized the choice of wording in the agreement. For strategic reasons, I will not publicly comment on it now. However, I firmly believe that in the less than four weeks remaining for the Tripartite Committee to make its findings and report, the APC should vigorously engage its constituents and encourage open discussions about the Tripartite Committee report. The APC should encourage constituents to discuss the issues everywhere, including churches, mosques, markets, workplaces, and even secret society bushes/places. While I trust that the APC Tripartite Committee members have competently handled the discussions so far, I believe more can be gained by engaging constituents. 

In conclusion, I am now firmly convinced that the blatant refusal and deliberate efforts by Konneh and ECSL to publish and gazette the June 2023 multi-tier election results indicate they do not have the results. What Konneh announced on June 27, 2023, was merely a figment of his imagination. Furthermore, Sierra Leoneans need not worry about to whom the Tripartite Committee will make its official report. What matters is that a report must be made! The report can affect anyone, including its makers and receivers. Additionally, the paid advocates pushing the APC to produce its Results Reconciliation Form (RRF) were being dishonest, as the RRF cannot substitute for the results as evidence in court. I want Sierra Leoneans to understand that justice is the key to peace, love, and unity. Without justice in Sierra Leone, peace, love, and unity will be seriously challenged. Therefore, justice must take its rightful course in Sierra Leone, which will, in turn, usher in development and investment, making Sierra Leone a happy, growing nation.

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