From the Editor’s Keyboard

The will of the people will abort SLPP’s attempted “Coup”

16 September 2007 at 09:06 | 732 views

Commentary

By Abdulai Bayraytay,Deputy Editor, Toronto,Canada.

While Sierra Leoneans in particular and the wider spectrum of the international community in general patiently await the final results of the just concluded presidential run-off elections in the West African country of Sierra Leone, the losing cum ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has filed an injunction against the respectably, uncontested National Electoral Commission (NEC) headed by the indefatigable Dr. Christiana Thorpe prohibiting it from any “further publication” of electoral results.

The fact that the SLPP, which is trailing behind the opposition All People’s Congress (APC) by 60% to 35% of the total votes counted so far respectively could not wait until the final results are out has been largely interpreted as a last minute attempt on the part of the ruling government to disrupt the electoral process in a desperate bid to continue to cling on to power against the will of the people.

Such desperation manifested itself by using unconstitutional means in coercing law officials to sign the so-called injunction outside regular working days. This is not unusual. Prior to the run-off elections, sensing that the will of the people to torpedo the government is resolute, president Kabbah threatened to impose a state of emergency which would have thwarted the elections themselves. This vile threat was buried six feet deep with the only hope now hinging on keeping out APC polling agents in places like Pujehun, Segbwema, Kailahun and Kenema, among others, with the expressed intent of vote-rigging. Indeed, reports indicate that notorious political players like John Benjamin, John Karimu and other hired thugs criminally stuffed boxes with ballots papers that they failed to reconcile with the official list of registered voters in these areas.

As expected of any credible Electoral Commission, some votes from these areas were declared null and void to the anger of the ruling government which is hell bent in holding on to power at all costs. Not surprisingly, the government unleashed its political thugs in an all out intimidation of NEC officials after attempts to provoke the military and other state security paraphernalia failed. Instead, the Sierra Leone Police was singled out, accused and mouth-washed by no other person than the Chairman of the Police Council, the frail and losing Solomon Berewa, on allegations of unsubstantiated electoral bias.

This latest development by the ruling SLPP to disrupt the smooth transition of power in order for the country to continue to enjoy the enviable status accorded it by virtue of the credibility of the polls has largely been seen as an attempted “coup” against the will of the people of Sierra Leone.

That is why one would only expect the international community to consolidate the will of the people, who endured one of the most banal and vicious civil conflicts in the history of post-colonial Africa, by piling pressure on those frenetic politicians still unschooled in the values of democracy to yield to the wishes of the electorate.

Instead of filing an injunction in a bid to discredit the NEC, the government should have known better by waiting for the final results and choose to contest the elections in a court of law. But one thing the government should realize is the fact that the will of the people will unite in defying any attempt to derail the democratic train by desperate political hoodlums as the will of the people will surely abort any attempted "coup" by the SLPP in the form of unfounded injunctions.

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