Opinion

Don’t Blame Christiana Thorpe

8 July 2010 at 02:24 | 1134 views

By Abdul Karim Kabia (Fonti), Freetown.

The Chief Electoral Commissioner of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Dr. Christiana Thorpe has been approved by the House of Parliament to serve a second term of five years as the head of NEC.

During the debate in parliament, the main opposition Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) stoutly objected the re-appointment of Dr. Thorpe and staged a protest walk-out when the House resolved to vote on the issue. Notwithstanding the fact that I have my reservations on the procedures used in approving Christiana Thorpe, the die has already been cast.

It is no secret that the SLPP considers Christiana Thorpe as its main enemy following the cancellation of the election results in 477 polling stations during the 2007 presidential and parliamentary elections.
The SLPP claimed that they were robbed of victory in that election, as according to them, the results were cancelled in their strongholds including but not limited to the Kailahun Court Barray.

SLPP continues to blame Christiana Thorpe, for ‘disenfranchising’ its ‘supporters’; a situation that resulted in the demise of the party.

Prior to the announcement of those results, the SLPP speedily assembled its legal team, and wasted no time in filing a legal suit seeking a court injunction to restrain Christiana Thorpe from announcing the results.
Unfortunately for the SLPP, the court order was not upheld and the results were announced to the advantage of the then opposition APC.
The party never relented in their pursuit to challenge the decision of Christiana Thorpe to cancel the results of 477 polling stations. They continue to file fruitless legal suits against the NEC head until she was recently re-appointed for a second term in office.

Following her re-appointment, the SLPP directed its bashing to President Koroma and accused him of taking a unilateral decision. The president should have consulted all the registered political parties prior to the announcement of the decision to re-appoint Thorpe, the SLPP believed and argued.
It is no secret that the SLPP considers Christiana Thorpe’s re-appointment as a threat to their presidential and parliamentary bids. But I can contest that believe of the SLPP because I am one hundred percent certain that Christiana Thorpe is nobody’s friend. Believe it or leave it.

In Parliament, the SLPP protested that the matter of the NEC Chairperson’s appointment must not be mentioned in parliament on grounds that there exists a parliamentary ‘Standing Order’ that barred parliament from discussing pending court issues. The SLPP parliamentarians argued that there is a pending matter in court between Christiana Thorpe and the SLPP with regards to elections, thus the need to kick the matter out of parliament. This argument yielded no dividend as the APC decided to use their majority advantage over the SLPP by voting on the decision.

The SLPP, in my view, are unjustly casting blames on poor Christiana Thorpe for their 2007 failure. The party is failing to take responsibility for its crash and prefer to blame some other people.

In that regard, Christiana Thorpe, as the head of NEC, became a victim of circumstance – being blamed for performing her sacred responsibility.
I consider her a victim of circumstance on the premise that she was not the one who plotted for people to undertake massive rigging ventures, including but not limited to ballot stuffing. Infact, the poor woman made several warnings for people to desist from election malpractices and threatened to invalidate results in defaulting polling centers. Because of power thirst, her warnings were flouted and she exercised her authority by not only invalidating results in alleged SLPP strongholds, but did the same in northern polling stations, believed to be the stronghold of APC.

The situation can best be described as a scenario wherein Christiana Thorpe was stranded between the devil and the deep blue sea. She was faced with a situation where over-votings have occurred and left with the option of invalidating the results and incurs the wrath of a particular political group on one hand, or announcing rigged-results and dents her reputation on the other hand.

In a situation like this, every right thinking human being will subscribe to the choice of Christiana Thorpe – invalidate the results, save her reputation, and dam the consequences.
True to this, she had, and continues to face bashing from the opposition SLPP, when the fact remains that she was never the cause of the 2007 political demise of the SLPP.

The SLPP must therefore stop the victimization and scapegoatisation of the poor lady. After all, she has been mandated to preside on the 2012 presidential and parliamentary elections, and I am sure the SLPP will not want to go into a contest with an enemy as the judge.

The time to mend fences with Christiana Thorpe is NOW. I hope somebody is listening.

It is no secret that the SLPP considers Christiana Thorpe’s re-appointment as a threat to its presidential and parliamentary bids. But I can contest that believe of the SLPP because I am one hundred percent certain that Christiana Thorpe is nobody’s friend. Believe it or leave it.

Photo: Christiana Thorpe.

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