SLAJ iVerify found that the former Attorney General of the APC, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara’s tweet on January 20, 2023, is untrue.
ECSalone declared at a meeting, that for the presidential elections, they will count votes at the district level and not count votes polling station by polling station.
SLAJ iVerify found that the tweet posted by the former Attorney General of the APC, Joseph Fitzgerald Kamara, on March 20, 2023, is misleading.
The claim within it, that at a meeting of ECSalone it was stated that the votes of the presidential election would only be counted at the district level, cannot be backed up with evidence.
There is no known recording of the meeting, and the minutes, if any were taken, have not been released.
However, a number of people at the meeting have said this was not what was discussed. The issue, in fact, was that district-level vote certification would be bypassed.
ECSalone Southern Region Commissioner Edmond S Alpha has confirmed to SLAJ iVerify that all counting would happen at polling stations and certification would happen at the regional level.
In a tweet, ECSalone Commissioner Mohamed K. Konneh stated, “ECSalone has never said anywhere that it will not count presidential votes at the polling station level before tallying the polling station result at the regional centers.”
Both Commissioners’ statements appear to contravene Sierra Leonean law. The Public Elections Act, 2022 section 51. (1) says the district level must be involved in the counting process;
“A Presiding Officer shall, after the expiration of the time fixed for polling, count the votes, polling station by polling station, certify the result of the counting, stating the number of valid votes cast in favour of each presidential candidate to the District Returning Officer, who shall in turn certify the result to the Regional Returning Officer and the Regional Returning Officer shall in turn certified the result to the National Returning Officer.”