By Peter Beckley
Hundreds of eager citizens in the Western Area Rural District’s Constituency 110 are going to the polls to vote for a Parliamentary representative in what has become the most hotly contested by-elections in the country today.
Four candidates, Josephine Jackson, also known as Jojo of the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP), Ibrahim Kabba, also known as Small Borbor, of the National Grand Coalition (NGC), Femi Claudius Cole of the Unity Party (UP) and Kadijatu Davies of the All People’s Congress (APC) are battling for the highly disputed seat.
It may be recalled that earlier this year, a court ruling declared the 2018 elections win for the APC candidate, Kadijatu Davies null and void, after a successful petition by the SLPP candidate, Josephine Jackson.
Kadijatu was stripped of her parliamentary seat, which she had occupied for close to a year and now she will be facing another woman, Femi Claudius Cole, of the Unity Party, who was not in the race for Constituency 110 in the 2018 general elections because she contested as Presidential Candidate for her party.
The campaign for the now hotly contested seat was characterised by incidents of violence between the supporters of Josephine Jackson and Kadija Davies, resulting into injuries, damage to property and the incarceration of dozens of Kadie Davies’ supporters by the Police.
Due to the volatility of the situation, the National Electoral Commission (NEC) published a Press Release on 22nd August 2019, stating that the tallying of results for the by elections would be done at the National Data Centre at Wellington in the far East of Freetown and not in the vicinity of the constituency.
This move has however been condemned by many who believe that the tallying of results, according to the Public Electons Act of 2012, should be done at the District Tallying Centre which in this case ought to be Waterloo and not NEC’s National Data Centre at Wellington.
“NEC is setting a bad precedent that could be referenced tomorrow by succeeding governments to justify their illegal acts of undermining good governance, democracy, political participation and the body politic of the state” an angry voter said.
“By their press release, it is clear that NEC has not only scored an own goal on itself but has further created room for suspicions regarding the conduct of the Bye elections in Constituency 110” another voter opined.
NewsWatch will keep you updated on all developments as the process proceeds.