As part of efforts to sanitise the Sierra Leone election of any form of information disorder, DUBAWA brings you a live fact-check of the election expected to begin at 7:00 am and end at 5:00 pm.
A Twitter user @touyuba posted a video of tens of protesters marching on the streets of Makeni and accusing the ECSL of denying them their constitutional right to vote because their names could not be found in the register.
DUBAWA proceeded to the Baptist Model Primary School, where the incident allegedly happened in Makeni. There was a crowd chanting, “we want to vote,” but there was no polling centre manager to speak to. Some of the voters had their Voter IDs and registration slips but said they had been denied a right to vote because their names could not be seen in the register. The voters marched to the ECSL office in Makeni, hoping to get the election body to restore their right to vote. At 6:00pm when DUBAWA was leaving the centre, the voters were yet to cast their ballots.
AUTHOR: Ishmael Roland Kamara
St Joseph Primary School polling station in Central Freetown is yet to start voting more than an hour after ECSL voting time officially ended.
EyeWitnessNewsSL reported delayed voting at polling station 16148 at the St. Joseph Primary School eight hours into voting. With two hours to go for the polls to end officially, the report suggests the angry electorate are yet to cast their ballot.
DUBAWA rushed to the centre at 6:45 GMT and confirmed that the voters were yet to cast their ballots more than an hour after voting officially closed. The polling centre manager Deborah Jaward explained that voting had been delayed due to the absence of the voting roster. According to her, the original centre manager for the polling station was chased out by the angry voters who were tired of waiting without end for the roster. DUBAWA observed armed police and military officers deployed to the station to protect the new Center Manager and maintain law and order. Around 7:30 GMT when DUBAWA was leaving the polling station, voting had still not started, and the electorates were seething angrily.
A Facebook user Prime Salome claims the Electoral Commission in Sierra Leone participates in electoral fraud by registering minors to vote in the election. He shared images of minors voters’ cards and accused the commission of wanting to aid the People’s Party Presidential Candidate, Julius Maada Bio, to win the election.
In the report, the Head of Media and Communication at the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL), Raymond George, revealed that after an examination, the only issues they encountered were mismatched and faceless photos on the cards.
Even though a reverse image search could not trace the image on the ID cards, a red flag on the cards was that they all had the same date of birth, March 3, 2005. If the ages are anything to go by, these ID cards should be part of the newly registered voters whose cards were distributed early this year for the elections, as captured in a news report here. However, the images on the cards appear younger than 18-year-olds, and the voter card does not appear recent.
A man allegedly affiliated with the SLPP has been caught with pre-voted ballot papers in Makeni. The video has gone viral on WhatsApp, with reports suggesting the police have arrested him after a chaotic scene.
DUBAWA traced the landmarks in the video and found the location to be RC Kolokolo Senior Secondary in Makeni, with station number 04239. The polling centre manager will not speak to the fact-checker. However, the fact-checker spoke to multiple voters at the centre who confirmed the arrest by the police. The fact-checker proceeded to the Panlap police station in Makeni and found the arrested suspect to be Hassan Karim with thumb-printed ballot booklets. DUBAWA also found a link to a video showing how the suspect was handed over to the police.
Author: Edna Egegba/Osman Sesay
An online media platform Sierraloaded has alleged on Facebook that 100 ballot papers had “gone missing” at the FSSG polling centre.
DUBAWA’s fact-checker was present at the Freetown Secondary School for Girls (FSSG), Centre No: 1676 – Brookfields. Contrary to claims that 100 ballot papers had “gone missing,” our fact checker found that the papers were rather in short supply in polling centres 7 and 8. There are a total of nine polling stations in that centre.
The polling centre managers would not speak to the fact-checker. However, Ibrahim Kolleh Bangura and Sylvester Sumaila, both of whom are party agents of the two main parties – APC & SLPP, confirmed to DUBAWA that the ballot papers were in short supply. According to them, instead of 300 ballot papers for each station, the ECSL officials supplied 200 each, meaning both stations had a shortage of 100 each.
DUBAWA equally spoke to an Observer representing the Council of Churches Sierra Leone (CCSL), a credible religious institution in the country, who refused to disclose his identity. The observer said the papers were not “missing;” what occurred was a shortage of ballot papers. However, the ECSL officials brought the remaining 100 ballot papers each for both polling stations.
A viral press statement claims that the former mayor of Freetown, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, is calling for the boycott of the “rigged” election.
DUBAWA contacted Ms Aki-Sawyerr, who denied the statement saying she would organise a Facebook live to debunk the claim.
A keyword search also revealed no news report on the statement.
We also subjected the press release to ‘Forensically’, a tool for investigating documents and found some cloning effect on the document suggesting it was manipulated.
A TikTok video showing a man dressed in a military uniform warned that if there is no free and fair election in Sierra Leone, his troops will take over after 24 hours.
FINDING: A look at the Tik Tok account (@presidentobonjo) that shared the video shows that the man in the video is a comedian who identifies as President Abundura of Laughter (lafta) Republic. A keyword search on Google also led to his Facebook account, where he identified as a comedian. He also got the election date wrong. Instead of June 24, he said June 23.
This shows the video is a skit with no real threat.
These fact-checks are jointly produced by Ishmael Roland Kamar, Fayia Junior Moseray, Edna Egegba, Osman Sesay, Lois Ugbede, Jaward Nyallay, Kennedy Twumasi, Praise Cole, Lateef Sanni, Maxine Danso, Elizabeth Ogunbamowo, Roselena Ahiable, Temilade Onilade, and Silas Jonathan. It’s edited and approved by Nathan Gadugah and Simbiat Bakare.