Opinion

Letter from Ghana

3 December 2012 at 23:45 | 1796 views

By Patricia Omo Thorpe, Accra, Ghana.

Hello everyone,

Greetings from Sierra Leone and Ghana.

I am currently in Ghana representing Save Sierra Leone Foundation as an international observer for their elections on Friday. Save Sierra Leone Foundation was a registered international observer at the Sierra Leone Elections also. I personally observed polls from Goderich to Wellington on Nov 17 and my report summary is this:

Please note that SSLF is not affiliated with any party, we are here for country and the safe being of our people.

I have never in my entire life seen Sierra Leoneans more focused. The nation prayed for peace, all churches, all mosques, in street corners and in daily conversations. Freetown, the North, and areas of Kono clearly demonstrated their love for President Ernest Koroma, they came out dancing, singing, in red everywhere. Over a million people were at the rally in Red praising and singing songs of joy for HE Ernest Koroma. This man is truly loved and admired in Freetown and in the North.

In Bo, Kenema, Kailahun, Port Loko, parts of Magburaka and sections of Kono the Green was evidence of their support for SLPP Maada Bio. Bio’s rally comprised more of the older generation seen in groups celebrating versus dancing in the streets, there were patches of green making their way to a central spots versus hundreds of people dancing in the streets of Freetown. Songs by Famous, Shady, Emerson, Vicky Forna, The Rapture kids were heard all over the cities till the wee wee hours of the morning everyday. The youths came out in favor of APC. From the results of the rally which was viewed by thousands of International Observers, it was clear that APC would be victorious. For weeks before the election, Sierra Leone was in celebration mood, every where. I traveled extensively covering many polling areas, people praised and sang for their candidates much more than argue and fight.

There was much more music and dancing everywhere till late in the mornings than angry confrontation, arguments or mini fights, before, during and after the elections. As a matter of fact the first suggestion of the SLPP call for violence came from the United States Forum groups. Shame Shame Shame.

I am sure Mr.Bio could have conceded had he not been encouraged to fight it out from our so "knowledgeable about everything in Sierra Leone USA Forum members". He is very quiet out here, his supporters are advocating for peace everywhere, Dr. Kadie Sesay stepped up as a mother and a true African woman advocating for peace and a willingness to move forward, I categorically state that I on behalf of Save Sierra Leone Foundation observed a free and fair election. The data centers where the ballots were rechecked and computerized were flooded with international observers and we all stayed up for many nights watching the NEC staff putting these ballots in the right data profiles. The process was enviable. Over 90% of those that voted followed the rules and were so proud of themselves. People voted and went straight home, the Okada Boys obeyed every restriction, only registered vehicles observing the elections were out that day, the roads were clear as never before seen in Sierra Leone, Sierra Leoneans waved to us the observers with pride saying "we are civilized, we love mama Salone and there will be no fighting". Many observers in conversation I had wth them were totally shocked that Sierra Leoneans can be so united, most of them joined in the merriment and joy they saw. The army and the police worked in unison and can be seen in street corners laughing and being friendly with the people. Bus services were provided for those that needed transportaion, (the elderly, pregnant mothers, and disabled people). Sierra Leoneans stood in perfect lines waiting for these busses, truthfully this is never the case in Sierra Leone and it was so beautiful to see an organized system at play.

I responded to this link because it is time for us to wake up and smell the coffee. The people at home are looking up to us to sustain and maintain peace and if we are the instigators of peace and separation, it is a crying shame. I urge us all to be fair, there was no rigging, stuffing of ballot boxes, illegal malpractice, etc,etc, we spent many nights investigating claims from the SLPP before the results were announced, and because we could not find any substantial mal-practice Dr. Thorpe bravely adviced that all allegations of mal-practices be reported to the police, all the videos, pictures etc etc that was posted on the net NOT ONE has been sent to the police, the letters that the NEC commissioner received not one has been sent to the police. Videos from observers have been called in to review some of these allegations nothing illegal was seen. As with every election there are always a few unscrupulous people and they were caught right in the action and were arrested and still in jail. Believe you me , Sierra Leoneans do not want to be sent to jail and as the word spread very quickly others that had similar intentions hurriedly did the right thing. There were 4 stations in each polling station with observers lined at every pooling booth with cameras rolling, the booths were not even conducive for rigging. At no point in tine were there groups of voters in the stations, as you voted a process which tok 3-5 minutes you exited and the line moved forward. Voters were behind screens when they put their ballots in and before they went in it was verified that they went in with their one ballot form. After the whole process voter’s pointing index finger was dipped in black ink and that ink does not come off even in 72 hours, so there was no way you can go a second round without being pulled out.

Please bear in mind too that many countries invested in this process so they were out there loking for flaws. Sierra Leone is being hailed all over the world right now as a model to emulate. Can we all for once as a nation enjoy this pat on our backs. I am appealing to all to accept the results, it was a clear clear win for the APC party, The SLPP clearly won 90%of parlimentarian seats, chariman seats, councillor seats in the South and South/East, APC clearly won 90% plus all parlimentarian, chairman and councillor seats in the West the North and North/East. There were no guessing games in the results. We have to swallow our pride and admit that Maada Bio was not the best choice for the SLPP Party, SLPP also did not campaign as vigorously as the APC. SLPP must go back and and do their homework starting now for the next election in 2017. In my opinion, Maada Bio will be more respected and will emerge as a positive leader if he conceeds, right now he is being ridiculed in the community and names of USA forum members are splashed out as instigators, but the Sierra Leoneans I have talked to including many from Bo, Kenema, and Kailahun have shown a maturity well beyond their years, they are disappointed but happy that they will be represented in parliament by their own chosen candidates. We in the USA, Britain, Canada, France, Germany and all the Civilized countries, must learn from our ’uneducated, uncivilized, unintelligent’ brothers and sisters in Sierra Leone, currently they are displaying more civiization and intelligence than we are.

You writers that are calling for " seperation", "do not accept the results", "lets go to court", "Christiana Thorpe is a crook" and more, I hope in your quiet moments you will review whatever conversations you have heard, review what pictures you received try to add up the facts and I do hope you will be thoroughly ashamed of yourselves in instigating violence and name calling of Sierra Leoneans that are making a remarkable difference in the lives of our nation. Let us focus in getting the government of the day to bring continuous electricity, clean drinking water, clear the streets of Freetown, make road path for Okada Drivers, build houses for the homeless, create employment for Sierra Leoneans, bring down the cost of food especailly rice, pay the workers, bring discilpine and proper planning, stop corruption and hold culprits responsible, work on getting rid of mosquitoes, thyphoid, and cholera. This Election is done, APC clearly won by a very wide margin, let us congratulate them and focus on what we need to do as a nation. Let us use our "Privilege of being abroad" wisely.

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