The National Secretary General of the main opposition All People’s Congress (APC), Lansana Dumbuya, last Tuesday 11th May, 2023 issued a news release raising concerns regarding the quality of the new voter ID cards meant for the Saturday 24th June multitier elections and threatening to hold a peaceful nationwide protest to demonstrate their dissatisfaction if the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone (ECSL) fails to properly address their latest concerns.
Many concerned Sierra Leoneans have however questioned the APC’s current stance on the new voter ID cards after the party had gone through the ECSL’s nomination process in filling candidates nationwide when the elections are just around the corner.
“The conditions which APC gave the Commission in its press release are a deliberate attempt by its executive members to box the Commission into the corner so that the elections would be postponed as they wish,” one of the concerned citizens asserted, noting that if the APC presidential candidate has credited the Commission for the new voter ID cards, then it is complete slap in the face for his party to say otherwise.
Another concerned Sierra Leonean opined that the APC hierarchy is crying foul at the eleventh hour because it has surreptitious plans to disrupt the June elections after they have smelt defeat even in their Northern strongholds, let alone the Southeast where most of their comrades have pitched tent with the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) while others have withdrawn their nominations from the Commission.
A retired senior military officer advised that the APC’s threat of a nationwide peaceful protest to demonstrate their dissatisfaction should not be taken lightly by the security apparatuses as in previous incidents allegedly organized by the APC.
“The security must protect and secure all facilities owned by the Commission across the country perhaps demonstrators may want to attempt to attack them and destroy documents and materials relating to the electoral process in order to force the elections to be postpones,” the retired senior military officer warned.
In his response to the APC’s allegations, the Director of Public Education at the ECSL, Albert Kanneh, assured the public that the allegations were untrue and that the Commission was prepared to conduct the June multitier elections on the stated date and time.
The Director noted that the ECSL was in contact with service providers to address concerns about the printing and security features of the voter ID cards.
He reiterated that the new voter ID cards are of the highest quality and fully equipped with the latest security chip to prevent counterfeit printing, adding that the service providers have agreed to reprint over 13,000 cards with misplaced information and address other issues that may arise among political parties about the voter ID cards.
Meanwhile, reports are that the ECSL’s general administration will soon meet to discuss the issues raised by the APC and will release a full statement on the matter.