February 24, 2024

Sierra Leone: Julius Maada Bio swears in

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Finally, Julius Maada Bio swore in as the new elected president of Sierra Leone, and this left the opposition side worrying after a retired soldier won the elections.

Official figures give Mr. Bio 56% of the vote. His main rival, Samura Kamara, trailed far behind with 41%.

A candidate needs more than 55% to win outright and avoid a second round.

After the first tranche of results were released on Monday, Dr. Kamara called the outcome “daylight robbery”.
International election observers have highlighted problems with transparency in the tallying process.

Saturday’s vote took place amid tension, but President Bio had called on Sierra Leoneans to “keep the peace”.

The 59-year-old, a former soldier, was sworn in for his second and final five-year term later on Tuesday night.

The retired army brigadier took part in a military coup during the country’s civil war in 1992, only to overthrow the military junta itself in 1996 and pave the way for free elections that year.

Scenes of celebration have been reported in the capital, Freetown, with Mr. Bio’s supporters hoisting his banner and marching across the wet streets of the city.

The rivalry between him and Dr. Kamara, 72, was a repeat of the closely fought 2018 election, which went to a second round.

This time, Dr. Kamara, who was the candidate for the All People’s Congress (APC), has alleged that his electoral agents were not allowed to verify the ballot counting.

Cameron Hume, head of the US-based Carter Center’s election observer team, told our news reporters that they had questions about how some votes were counted.

“We are not convinced that the integrity was maintained throughout the elections,” he told uncovered news reporters, noting that the seals had been broken on some ballot boxes before they were counted.

However, he stressed that they did not have any evidence that fraud had been committed and that much of the election process had gone well.

In the run-up to the vote, the APC had made complaints about the electoral commission. However, the commission insisted that it had mechanisms in place to ensure a fair vote.

The presidential, parliamentary, and local council elections came at the end of a campaign marred by several violent incidents.

The party has said that another one of its backers was killed when security forces tried to break up the crowd at its headquarters in Freetown on Sunday.

written by @enock katamba

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