Kalasongoia , Kafe Simiria and Sambaia chiefdoms in Tonkolili District form Constituency 066. These three chiefdoms are inhabited by predominantly the Limba and the Kuranko tribes of Sierra Leone.
According to the National Electoral Commission (NEC) Tonkolili District Officer, Steven Kabba, who spoke to this reporter yesterday Thursday 16th February 2017, at the St. Matthew’s Secondary School, Bumbuna, there was a report of the death of the late Honourable Member of Parliament, Dr. Taworo Ansumana Bockarie Tara-Koroma of Sambaia Chiefdom who was representing Constituency 066. He added: “The sad event took place on the 16th December, 2016 and he was buried on the 9th January, 2017.”
VP Foh leading the APC rally as he presents Rosemarie to the people of Bumbuna Town
Mr. Kabba further added “upon receiving the information, the Commission acted speedily by declaring the vacancy for the said Constituency and a timeline was prepared for the said election.” He stressed that the law stated that in an event of a by-election for a Member of Parliament, an election is to be conducted within a period of six months. He said, this was what led to the NEC declaration of tomorrow, Saturday 18th February, 2017 as a date for the by-election for a replacement of the late member in the House of Parliament.
Two candidates, Rosemarie Bangura of the ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) and Alhaji Musa B Jalloh of the main opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP), were nominated on the 19th and 20th January, 2017 respectively to battle for supremacy in the three Tonkolili Chiefdoms for the vacancy in Constituency 066 Parliamentary by-election.
Prince Harding, Maada Bio and Musa Bendugu yesterday in Tonkolili
During the campaigns which ended yesterday evening, these three Tonkolili chiefdoms received a team of ruling All Peoples Congress (APC) leaders comprising of the Honourable Vice President, Dr. Victor Bockarie Foh; the Northern Regional Chairman of the APC, Hon. Buya Kamara; APC Tonkolili District Chairman, Hon. Dr Minkailu Bah; Minister of State Office of the Vice President, Hon. Mohamed Alie Bah; Resident Minister North, Hon. Alie Kamara and many others on Wednesday 15th February 2017, who rocked Bumbuna Town in what is referred to as “the 4-4-4 formation” in the final APC rally for the by-election in Constituency 066.
Similarly, yesterday, Thursday 16th February 2017, a team led by the SLPP Deputy Chairman and Leader, Dr. Prince Harding; and comprises of flagbearer aspirants, Maada Bio and Dr Alie Kabba, Ambassador Umaru Bond Wurie, Alpha Timbo; National Executive Members- Ambassador Alie Badara Kamara, Dr. Abass Bundu, Deputy National Womens Leader and many more rallied in all three of the chiefdoms headquarters. Starting from Bendugu Town in Samaia Chiefdom, then Bumbuna Town in Kalasongoia Chiefdom, the SLPP team ended their rally in Mabonto Town in Kafe Simiria Chiefdom.
Now that campaigns are closed, the District Electoral Officer has said that materials for the conduct of the by-election are already dispatched.However,he mentioned some difficulties in accessing some extreme remote villages such as Kawunklu, Kamasaki, Kakarima and Kamaseypeneh all in Kalasongoia Chiefdom. He said, these four villages are bordered by a massive river and massive hills. Though he said NEC has already arranged for speedboats to transport electoral equipments and electoral officials to those villages, he however said that electoral staff have to work a total of over ten (10) miles to finally react in specifically Kawunklu Village.
Meanwhile, so far situations in all three chiefdoms are relatively calm. Though the period leading to the election was fraught with certain political violence, the police has however allayed fears, and has promised to monitor the process until its finishes.
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Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.