Sierra Leone president calls for ‘peaceful’ elections ahead of the Saturday voting date at different polling stations.
Julius Maada Bio held his final rally in the capital before the polls open on Saturday (June 24).Voters will also elect MPs and local councils.
Julius Maada Bio is one of 13 candidates vying for the top office. The Sierra Leone People’s Party nominee called for a peaceful election at the end of a tense campaign.
“I want to appeal to everybody, we want peaceful elections. No violence. You have your card, on that day go and vote,” he told his supporter from a stage on Freetown’s Lumley Beach.
Traditional parade-like political street rallies have been banned this year to avoid potential violence.
Macksood Gibril Sesay, a former electoral commissioner, expressed concern that there “wasn’t a process of healing” after deadly riots in August last year.
“Everybody knows that elections are a period where they just need something to spark off and then there will be chaos everywhere.”
The two main parties waited until just a month before elections to release their manifestos.
Since then, the opposition has lambasted the Electoral Commission of Sierra Leone (ECSL) for alleged bias in favour of the ruling party, raising speculation that it is laying the groundwork for a court challenge -– a tactic both parties have used in the past.
Disinformation abounds on both sides, and the online space could have a more significant influence on voters than ever this year.
It Information Minister Mohamed Rahman Swaray told AFP that internet penetration had risen to nearly 3 million, from 370,000 people in 2018
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