The West African nation of Sierra Leone held Presidential and Parliamentary elections on Wednesday.
The elections were largely peaceful and observed by representatives from the regional economic grouping ECOWAS, the British Commonwealth, the continental body African Union(AU) and the European Union.
In a preliminary report, ECOWAS observers in Freetown say, although the elections were generally peaceful, there were some issues which they did not think would affect the outcome such as:
- The restriction of vehicular movement on election day frustrated some voters who wished to exercise their right to choose political leaders.
- The heavy presence of security forces at polling stations intimidated some voters.
- The police raid on an election collation center of the main opposition party on the suspicion of election hacking.
But the opposition have challenged the credibility of the elections.
Three major candidates are hoping to succeed President Ernest Bai Koroma who has served two five-year and is ineligible to stand again.
The candidates included the hand picked nominee of the ruling party Samura Kamara, a former military officer Julius Maada Bio and Kandeh Yumkella of the opposition.
The country’s National Elections Commission (NEC) on Thursday issued a statement on the just concluded elections and says data entry is underway and advised all parties that it is the sole body authorized to release official results.
If no candidate in the Presidential elections garners the 55% needed to win outright, a run off elections will be held between the two highest vote getters.
Counting is underway and preliminary results are due to be released by the end of the week.
By Emmanuel Abalo
African Journal Magazine