Residents of Neini Chiefdom, Konidugu District, Northern Sierra Leone, have called on the Electoral Commission for Sierra Leone to reinstate Robert Yirah Balla koroma as the newly elected Paramount Chief of the Neini Chiefdom.
Investigation conducted by The Times S/L revealed that the Chieftaincy election was conducted on the 10th of June 2022, by ECSL officials and voting went on peacefully from 9 am to 5 pm, and agents of all four candidates and observers where there, and are said to have witnessed the counting of the votes, and the results were as follows: Robert Yirah Balla Koroma scored 294 votes (which is 58% of total vote cast), Foday Manso Koroma scored 193 (which is 38%) and the remaining 4% was shared among the remaining 2 candidates.
The result was handed over to the Provincial Secretary for the pronouncement, when someone from the crowd, who happened to be a supporter of Foday Manso Koroma, rushed in and took the ballot box, but was apprehended by the security. It was also disclosed that as the police apprehended and collected the ballot box from the lawless supporter, they were greeted by a stone throwing crowd, who pelted the electoral officials, resulting in the cancellation of the pronouncement of the result and relocation to Kelleh town, which is nine miles away from Effie town, where the pronouncement was initially suppose to have taken place, so they decided to converge at Alkiliah town, before proceeding to Kabala town.
The said activity was again stalled, allegedly from an instruction given to Cloud Kamara, the District Electoral Manager, from Paul Damba, a senior official at ECSL.
According to our source, the other date set for the activity, was again cancelled on grounds that the President and entourage will be in Kono and will be passing through Samaia Bendugu, and most of them will be there.
Residents claim that since then, there have been continuous excuses from the authorities to declare the winner of the said election, and this has resulted desperation and frustration, as they are yearning to have their own Paramount chief.
Some residents allege that the delay was as a result of the alleged interference of the Deputy Minister of Justice, Umaru Napoleon Koroma, who also serves as the Secretary General of the Ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). They also claimed that Napoleon Koroma is a nephew of one of the losing candidates, Foday Manso Koroma, and could be using his position to prevent the authorities from Pronouncing the result, and this has baffled the winner and many residents living in the community.