Sierra Leone: Bio secures second term as opposition rejects results

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Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio was re-elected to serve a second term with 56.17 percent of the vote, the head of the electoral commission said Tuesday, prompting the runner-up to “categorically reject” the result.

Bio’s main challenger Samura Kamara, who came second with 41.16 percent of the vote according to final results announced in Freetown, branded the result “not credible”.

“I categorically reject the outcome so announced by the electoral commission,” he said on Twitter.

Vote tallying had already been disputed by Kamara’s All People’s Congress (APC), which condemned in a statement Monday an alleged lack of inclusiveness, transparency and responsibility by the electoral commission.

The party pointed to the lack of information about which polling stations or districts the ballots were coming from.

It had said it “will not accept these fake and cooked up results”.

In a later statement, the party alleged “overvoting” in some areas and said it “continues to reject” the “fabricated results” and “reaffirms our victory”.

But Bio’s supporters welcomed the result.

“I’m happy Bio won, we want him to fix the economy and create jobs,” Susan Myers, 34, said.

Musa Tholluy, 27, said she was happy because her “president was just re-elected. He’s doing great things for this country. He is fighting corruption”.

At a press conference Monday, European Union observers said a lack of transparency and communication by the electoral authority had led to mistrust in the electoral process.

The monitors said they witnessed violence at seven polling stations during voting hours and at three others during the closing and counting stages.

They also said they received reports of violent incidents in six regions, including the use of live ammunition in three districts.

About 3.4 million people were registered to vote in Saturday’s election.

Bio, 59, a former coup leader in the 1990s, has championed education and women’s rights in his first civilian term.

Kamara, 72, a former foreign and finance minister, had assailed the electoral commission throughout the campaign period over alleged irregularities and delays.

Sierra Leoneans also voted in parliamentary and municipal elections Saturday.

EU observers denounced violence by security forces at the APC headquarters in Freetown on Sunday night, in what the police said was an effort to disperse opposition supporters, which left one woman dead.

Sidie Yahya Tunis, a spokesman for the APC, said the woman had been on the ground floor of the building at the time.

“She was downstairs in the medical unit she’s a nurse we have a little health clinic in our office, that’s where she was working,” he said.

The woman’s son, Ibrahim Conteh, a 25-year-old law student, said that he had identified his mother’s body at the morgue.

“I need justice… I just want to know” who killed my mother, he said in tears.

Africanews/Hauwa M.

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