FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — Sierra Leone’s main opposition party on Saturday demanded a rerun of last weekend’s presidential election after incumbent President Julius Maada Bio was declared the winner and quickly sworn in for a second term in the West African nation.
The opposition All People’s Congress, or APC, has accused Sierra Leone’s electoral commission of conspiring with Bio’s party to rig the results. In a statement, the party also called for the resignation of the president of the electoral commission Mohamed Konneh and his entire team among others.
“What culminated in the rogue announcement of fraudulent election results on June 25 was not just an outright theft of votes from the suffering masses who needed change, it poses the greatest threat to our democracy, our unity and our survival as a nation,” he said. .
According to the official results, Bio received 56.17% of the vote, enough to beat his challenger Kamara while avoiding the second round. Election officials said Kamara received 41.16% of the votes cast.
Bio, who was already sworn in for his second term several days after the vote, tweeted for “all Sierra Leoneans to be peaceful and law abiding”.
“This is a collective victory for every citizen and we must unite now that the elections are over for the pursuit of a common goal, which is the development of our dear country,” Bio tweeted.
Some fear that Sierra Leoneans who contest the election result will take to the streets. Already, the West African nation has seen demonstrators protest the state of the economy in recent months. Nearly 60% of Sierra Leone’s more than 7 million people face poverty, with youth unemployment among the highest in West Africa.
The APC statement comes as pressure mounts on the electoral commission to open up its conduct of the election results tabulation process.
While regional observers like the African Union and ECOWAS declared the elections free and fair, other Western observers pointed out that the counting and tabulation process lacked transparency. The European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States and France in particular have pressured the electoral commission to post the results of each polling station.