The Mayor of the Municipality of Freetown City Council, Her Worship Yvonne Aki- Sawyerr has in an open letter addressed to the National Returning Officer and Chief Electoral Commissioner of the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone, Mohamed Kenewui Konneh exposed dozens of inconsistencies of the commission’s work in both recent voter registration and verification exercises ahead of the June 24th 2023 multi-tier elections.

Madam Aki-Sawyerr urged Chairman Konneh to immediately put out the fully disaggregated voter registration data for Western Area Urban and the rest of the country.

Mayor Aki-Sawyerr also drew the attention of the ECSL Chief to a letter she had earlier addressed to him on 12th September 2022, raising concerns about the contrast with Section 24 of the 2022 Public Elections Act, giving five options of documents which be requested to ascertain the claim of a registrant to be eligible to vote.

According to the Freetown City Council Mayor, the ECSL made a pronouncement that only birth certificates will be accepted for new registrants, adding that certified birth certificates of new registrants were rejected by ECSL staff on grounds that they were the wrong colours.

She drew the attention of Konneh to be aware that there are victims of flood and fire disasters whose birth certificates got lost and these victims were denied access to register despite enormous efforts to register with their affidavits and witness forms.

She added that although the anomalies were reported by relevant stakeholders, the ECSL Naciy failed to address the problemsn in the Western Area Urban. Mayor Aki-Sawyerr also exposed Konneh stating that the pronouncement of birth certificates by ECSL was a scam which she said was inconsistent in all parts of the country.

She furthered that the published Provisional Registration Data of which she noticed that data for New Registrants, Confirmations and Totals have been extracted and that the new registrant percentage for Western Urban is 6%.

She highlighted that the deducted figure of 257,123 described as “Total Duplicate Data” is not allocated across districts as it was the case for the 607 under-age registrants; she said it is in the interest of all stakeholders to show clarity about how the duplicate data was spotted and how the deduction is spread across the 16 districts.

Mayor Aki-Sawyerr continued that there were reports of missing data during the five days verification exercise in which the public was not largely informed about the process. She added that many centers were not having the Inclusion Forms which must be completed by registrants whose data did not appear during the vetting exercise.

In the announcement of the Proportional Representation system for Local Council elections, the Mayor of Freetown described the PR as a mere retrogression of local councils which she said will stretch the budget of councils and increase operational cost and divert currently inadequate financial resources away from development.

Mayor Aki-Sawyerr furthered that the difference between the 2021 census population figure (609,174) and ECSL total registrations (591,562) brought to notice that there are only 17,612 residents in Freetown between ages 0-18 years. Towards the tail end of her open letter to the ECSL Chief, Madam Mayor Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr drew the attention of the ECSL to the 2022 Public Elections Act No. 18 urging the ECSL, to finalize the voter register on 24th December 2022. She ended up by vehemently disagreeing that the 2021 population and housing census results for Western Area Urban do not tally with the population of the city and therefore noted that the use of that fabricated census results in the allocation of Freetown City Council is disproportionate and inaccurate.

Read the FCC Mayor’s full letter to the ECSL Chief below: