Two opposition parties in Sierra Leone have expressed grave concerns over the election process so far, saying it does not reflect the will of the people.
Coalition for Change (CFC) and National Grand Coalition (NGC) claim that their agents were evicted from some polling stations when the counting of votes started.
While the relevant authorities are yet to respond to this complaint, many election observers and the electoral commission have urged political parties to refrain from premature actions that might jeopardise the credibility of the elections.
ECOWAS Observer Mission preliminary report
The observer mission from Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has in particular asked political parties, the media and civil society organisations to refrain from speculating and declaring unofficial results.
Delivering their preliminary report, the ECOWAS observer mission noted that while the election was largely peaceful, free and fair, some challenges were observed including:
The restriction of vehicular movement on election day frustrated some voters who wished to exercise their right to choose political leaders.
The heavy presence of security forces at polling stations intimidated some voters.
The police raid on an election collation center of the main opposition party on the suspicion of election hacking.
The observers however concluded that these challenges did not diminish the transparency, fairness or credibility of the electoral process ‘at this point in time’.
Manual tallying of the votes cast is ongoing at the National tally center and regional centers, and the electoral commission has consistently asked voters to patiently wait for official results.
Preliminary statement from ecowas_cedeao on #SierraLeoneDecides2018 part 1 Sierradecides #SierraLeonedecides #SaloneDecides2018 #votesalone EUEOMSLeone2018 UNDPSierraLeone econec_resao ESRSierraLeone NECsalone GCNSierraLeone pic.twitter.com/rgSyUTiA6f— Womens Situation Room (@wsr_sl) March 8, 2018
Preliminary statement from ecowas_cedeao on #SierraLeoneDecides2018 part 2 Sierradecides #SierraLeonedecides #SaloneDecides2018 #votesalone EUEOMSLeone2018 UNDPSierraLeone econec_resao ESRSierraLeone NECsalone GCNSierraLeone pic.twitter.com/bjq27DcZYo— Womens Situation Room (@wsr_sl) March 8, 2018
Preliminary statement from ecowas_cedeao on #SierraLeoneDecides2018 part 3 Sierradecides #SierraLeonedecides #SaloneDecides2018 #votesalone EUEOMSLeone2018 UNDPSierraLeone econec_resao ESRSierraLeone NECsalone GCNSierraLeone pic.twitter.com/SlSORPAZOa— Womens Situation Room (@wsr_sl) March 8, 2018
#SierraLeone manually tallies the results of yesterday’s multi-tier elections. A time-consuming & cumbersome process. This is the elections warehouse for results from Freetown & environs. Officials say they need time to do a credible job & give correct results . Maybe next week. pic.twitter.com/IoboWckOar— Umaru Fofana (@UmaruFofana) March 8, 2018
pic.twitter.com/PUhjXe95Tp— National Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (@NECsalone) March 8, 2018