By Omar Bah
The self-styled leader of the so-far unregistered opposition All People’s Party, Omar Beyai, has called on the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission, Alieu Momarr Njai to resign.
Speaking to The Standard online from his current base in Sierra Leone, Mr Beyai said elections from start to finish should be very delicately handled to avoid any room for suspicion and therefore everything should double-checked before any final announcement is made.
“It is now clear that the IEC chairman repeated the same errors he made during the presidential election which led Jammeh to reject the results in the LGE election. Everything was accurately done and certified by everybody at polling stations at coalition centers without any mistake or dispute but twice now the IEC is making mistake in the final announcement. The latest one means that the IEC is not learning from its mistakes and someone should quit his job, example the chairman,” Beyai said.
“I am worried that these mistakes if repeated, may lead to some instability in our beloved motherland. This is why I believe Mr Njai should generously resign to maintain the respect he gained during the president election,” he implored.
Mr Beyai also implored all the other opposition parties to put pressure on the IEC chairman to quit.
“There is nothing personal about it. I am just worried that these errors may go out of hand one day and that can be detrimental to the already fragile political stability,” he added.
He said civil society organizations and the international community should weigh in and advise the chairman to go.
Beyai said the new government should remember that one of the biggest achievements they made is restoring democracy but they must not lose sight of the fact that people are watching and they must not allow people to lose interest, trust or confidence in them.
Mr Beyai’s comments came after the IEC initially announced 23 instead of 25 seats for the GDC and 18 instead of 16 for the APRC. The IEC later came with a clarification and although both parties involved confirmed and agreed that the latter figures are their correct results without any dispute at all, many criticized the IEC for an apparent carelessness.
Meanwhile a former election observer who spoke to The Standard said there is a striking resemblance in the two cases because whereas no mistake was made at all in the entire process, the announcement of a wrong figure even as genuine mistake can lead a loser to capitalize and cause confusion just as former President Jammeh did.
“In this particular case confusion was avoided because the results of all seats were properly declared with their rightful winners on air by the IEC chairman, it was only when he was giving the total won by each party that he mistakenly gave a wrong number for GDC and APRC. Both parties knew it was a genuine mistake because they confirmed their tally already,” he concluded.