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Konneh refutes legal grounds for disaggregated polling station results, dismisses over-voting claims

On Monday, June 24, 2024, the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone convened a press conference at the office conference hall at O.A.U Drive Tower Hill, Freetown, to present their Annual and Election Report.

Prior to reading the press statement, the Chairman and Chief Electoral Commissioner, Mohamed Konneh, noted that June 24th marked the first anniversary of the 2023 multi-tier election, an event of great significance and relevance to the nation, hence the briefing.

Commissioner Konneh emphasized that despite the challenges and criticism faced during and after the election, the commission remained mindful of its mandate and acted in a fair and respectful manner, in accordance with the Sierra Leone Constitution.

He reported that the total number of registered voters who participated in the June 24, 2023 election, stood at 2,789,808, with 52.88% being female and 47.12% being male.

Commissioner Konneh further highlighted that the 2023 election recorded one of the lowest invalid vote percentages in recent history. In 2007, the invalid vote rate was 7.30%, in 2012 it was 4.70%, in 2018, the first round of the election had 5.20% and the Run-off had 1.24%, while in 2023, it was a mere 0.39%.

He informed the press that on June 11, 2024, the commission presented their Annual and Multi-tier Elections Report 2023 to His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio, in fulfillment of Section 32 (12) of the 1991 Constitution. The report was also laid before parliament in accordance with legal provisions. Commissioner Konneh assured that the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone would engage stakeholders at national, regional, and district levels and provide copies of the report to relevant stakeholders in due course.

Commissioner Konneh further stated that the report highlighted the status of the ECSL 2020-2024 Strategic Plan, indicating the commission's progress, with 64.67% of its activities already implemented, 14.97% partly implemented, 15.57% in progress, and 4.79% yet to be achieved.

He also noted that the commission was invited by the Cross-Party Committee (Tripartite Committee) and willingly honored the invitation. He considered His Excellency's idea of engaging the commission as a commendable one.

The Commissioner informed that the commission was interviewed and questioned for five hours and that they reiterated to members of the Cross-Party Commission that the commission stands by the final Certified Result of the 2023 election as declared by the Chairperson and Chief Electoral Commissioner.

In conclusion, Commissioner Konneh emphasized that Section 92 of the Public Election Acts 2022 (PEA 2022) does not require the commission to produce disaggregated polling station results and, therefore, the ECSL is not in breach of any provision in the PEA 2022. He asserted that there was no over-voting in the recently concluded election and that any reports of over-voting were erroneous, baseless, and mischievous.


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