Election officials have declared Sierra Leone’s President Julius Maada Bio as the winner of the 24 June elections, as his biggest rival, Samura Kamara, and the opposition All People’s Congress (APC), instantly disputed the figures.
Election commission has said Bio secured 56.17% of the votes, narrowly clearing the threshold to avoid a runoff, thus securing re-election in Sierra Leone’s tense presidential vote. However, Bio’s main challenger, the opposition candidate Samura Kamara was quick to reject the results, immediately disputing the tally, which showed he had received 41.16% of the vote. “It is a sad day for our beloved country,” the APC’s candidate Kamara tweeted after the announcement. “It is a frontal attack on our fledgling democracy.” Bio was running for his second term against 12 opponents. Kamara, a former foreign minister, narrowly lost to Bio in the last election in 2018.
The election commission’s announcement came after supporters of both parties had claimed in recent days to have won the election, with Kamara saying that he was on an “irreversible path to an overwhelming victory”. The APC politician also alleged that security forces had opened fire on Sunday on a celebration at his party’s headquarters, though police denied having fired live bullets. The APC also pointed to the lack of information about which polling stations or districts the ballots were coming from, saying it “will not accept these fake and cooked up results”. Election monitors from the European Union said Monday (26 June) that a lack of transparency and communication by the electoral authority had led to mistrust in the electoral process. The observers also noted they witnessed violence at seven polling stations during voting hours and at three others during the closing and counting stages.