With 75% of the polling stations results now out, it is clear that voters in Sierra Leone are now heading for a run-off as predicted before the election last Wednesday, 7 March 2018.
Announcing the 75% results this afternoon – 11th March 2018, the National Electoral Commission declared as follows: SLPP – 848,438; APC – 833,519; NGC – 136,009; C4C 67,132; RUFP – 9,866; PMDC – 7,521; NURP – 1,816; PLP – 3,373; RNIP – 1.976; UDP – 4,477; UNPP – 2,369; and Unity Party – 2,891. The total number of votes announced today, is 1,958,191 out of the 3.2 million registered voters. It is not clear what the percentage voter turn-out was last Wednesday.
These results show that SLPP is leading the ruling APC by 15,000 votes. The remaining 25% of votes cast at polling stations across the country are expected to be announced later today Sunday.
The results announced so far, have come as a massive shock to the ruling APC whose confidence in winning at the first round had become palpably infectious to the opposition.
But it would seem now, that after declaration of 75% of results today, the ruling APC may be heading back to the drawing board along with their Chinese friends and financial backers to strategize for a runoff.
The opposition SLPP will now be hoping that they can extend their percentage lead later today, once the remaining 25% have been announced.
If the SLPP goes into a run-off with the ruling APC, they will need to open negotiations with the NGC and C4C parties to discuss power sharing arrangements in return for their support at the run-off.
It is expected that Dr Kandeh Yumkella and his NGC executive will hold direct high-level talks with Maada Bio and his SLPP officials, to discuss a negotiated power sharing arrangement for the next government.
The next parliament of Sierra Leone is once again expected to be dominated by the APC, possibly commanding 45% of the parliamentary seats; SLPP 40%; and NGC about 10%. This will not be sufficient to provide Dr Yumkella with the level of power he needs to leverage and influence the change he had campaigned for in the last three years.
Dr Yumkella will need to go into coalition with the opposition SLPP on a negotiated power sharing arrangement, in return for supporting SLPP at the run-off.
A coalition government is what the people of Sierra Leone so desperately need, so at to begin work on addressing corruption, poverty, poor health, a bankrupt economy, mass unemployment, poor electricity, poor water supply, and poor standards of education across the country.
Speaking to the Sierra Leone Telegraph, a strong supporter of Dr Yumkella said today: “We are heading for a run off between SLPP and APC. That being the case, it is very difficult to contemplate or entertain throwing our votes with the corrupt and heartless APC. We say we want change and we campaigned for change. We cannot afford to stay away from the run off either and watch APC and SLPP determine our destiny for another five to ten years.
“We need to be part of a power sharing block so we can influence and direct the affairs of the next government. We may not have enough MPs in parliament either to wield the power we need to make the change we want with our more than 200,000 votes.
“My view is that if pushed we must not shy away from going into a negotiated power sharing arrangement with SLPP on the proviso that we share the presidency and ministerial positions. Nothing less.
“As for APC, we must stay well clear from them at the run off. We don’t need APC. If we make the mistake of pitching tent with APC at the run off we will regret it forever. Let us learn from the mistakes of Sam Sumana and Charles Margai. Let us wish our NGC leaders God’s guidance in making a clear decision about the run off.
“Dr Yumkella cannot afford to sit back and merely watch his almost 200,000 votes melt away into the APC camp at the run-off. His voters will be looking up to him for direction. He must come out, once the run off has been declared and start negotiation with SLPP.”