By Amin Kef (Ranger)
Prominent public interest advocate and democracy activist, Augustine Sorie-Sengbe Marrah Esq., in his attempt to address concerns raised by political parties and ensure transparency in the electoral process, has formally requested the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) to provide information on the certified and verified district-level results of the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Council elections held on June 24, 2023.
In a letter addressed to the Chief Electoral Commissioner, Marrah, who is also a citizen of Sierra Leone and a registered voter in the recently concluded general elections, cited Section 2(1) of the Right to Access Information Act 2013 as the basis for his request. The Act allows citizens to seek confirmation on specific information from public institutions.
The letter specifically seeks confirmation regarding the custody and possession of all sixteen districts’ certified summary results by the respective District Returning Officers, as required under Section 92(1) of the Public Elections Act 2022.
Additionally, Marrah’s request inquires whether the district certified summary results were duly verified by counting agents, representing various political parties, and if they were made available to counting agents and observers at the respective offices of the District Returning Officers, as mandated by Section 92(2) of the Public Elections Act 2022.
Marrah, in his letter, also emphasized the importance of transparency and openness in electoral processes, particularly in light of concerns raised by both the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party and the opposition All Peoples Congress Party regarding the announced election results. These concerns have led to doubts over the credibility of the results and have raised questions about ECSL’s electoral integrity.
As a prominent institution with transparency as one of its cardinal values, the release of all certified and verified district-level election results could help address the mistrust and dispel misinformation surrounding the electoral process and its outcome, as carried out by ECSL.
While awaiting the response from the Electoral Commission, Marrah expressed hope that the request would be met within the timeframe provided by law, further demonstrating the Commission’s commitment to transparency and the democratic principles upheld by Sierra Leone.
In addition to addressing the letter to the Chief Electoral Commissioner, copies have been sent to the Executive Secretary of ECSL and the Commissioner of the Right to Access Information Commission.
As citizens and political stakeholders eagerly await the release of the requested information, the spotlight remains on the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone’s commitment to ensuring a fair and credible electoral process in the country.
Find copy of the letter below:
Augustine Sorie-Sengbe Marrah Esq.
LLB. (Hons); LLM (HRDA—Pretoria); BL.
2nd floor, 35 Jones Street, Freetown.
Tel: 076497991 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
28th July 2023
The Chief Electoral Commissioner
(National Returning Officer)
Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone
OAU Drive, Tower Hill
RE: REQUEST FOR INFORMATION REGARDING CERTIFIED & VERIFIED DISTRICT LEVEL RESULTS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL, LOCAL AND GENERAL ELECTIONS HELD ON 24TH JUNE 2023
I write to you as a citizen of Sierra Leone, a registered voter in the last general elections and a public interest advocate/democracy activist. I request pursuant to section 2(1) of the Right to Access Information Act 2013 confirmation on whether the Electoral Commission Sierra Leone (ECSL) has in its custody and/or possession all sixteen districts’ certified summary results by the respective District Returning Officers pursuant to Section 92(1) of the Public Elections Act 2022 for the presidential, parliamentary, and local council elections held on 24th June 2023. If available, may I further request information on whether the said district certified summary results were verified by counting agents (political parties’ agents) and/or made available to counting agents and observers present at the respective offices of the District Returning Officers pursuant to section 92(2) of the Public Elections Act 2022? If the answer to my foregoing enquiries is in the affirmative, I request that legible hard or electronic copies of the said certified district level results be dispatched to my address (above) as appropriate.
Sir, as you might be aware, certain concerns, legitimate or otherwise, have been raised by both the ruling, Sierra Leone People’s Party and the opposition, All Peoples Congress Party regarding the results announced by ECSL. These concerns, whether in the process or the outcome, have hung doubts over the credibility of the results announced by ECSL and to a large extent ECSL’s electoral integrity. As an institution, one of whose cardinal values is transparency/openness, releasing all sixteen districts’ certified and verified results of the last general elections would to some extent address the mistrust and dispel misinformation regarding the electoral process and outcome as undertaken by ECSL.
I hope you would consider complying with this request within the timeframe provided by law.
Augustine S. Marrah Esq.
CC: The Executive Secretary, ECSL
The Commissioner, Right to Access Information Commission