Sierra Leone elections:  Ban on transport affected turn out – Newspaper Editor

Information reaching our news team from Sierra Leone indicates that most people could not vote in the Sierra Leone run-off on Saturday March 31 because there was a ban on transport. Abu-bakarr, editor for the Concord Times Newspaper in Sierra Leone, Freetown told Onua Fm Wednesday “There was a ban on vehicular movements which prevented electorates to come out to vote” “The opposition has kicked against the ban on vehicular movements which prevented electorates from voting”. “In their view, it was meant to prevent their members from coming out to vote”, he added. The first round of the election held March 8 saw Julius Maada Bio, a former military coup leader getting 43.3% of the votes vying against the ruling party’s candidate Samura Kamara. An absolute majority is required to be elected a President, hence the run-off. Abu-bakarr Sheriff   said “there is an uneasy calm in the town and we are expecting the election results today or tomorrow”. He added that “the National Electoral Commission (NEC) is not telling us anything and both party supporters are jubilating. That is why everybody is calling on NEC to start announcing the results. There was a demonstration yesterday in front of one of the courts to press on NEC to announce the results”. But the National Electoral Commission (NEC) has indicated it will release the results of the run-off by Thursday. Prior to that however, tensions are high as the ruling party has raised allegations about the transparency of the election. It has accused the Commonwealth Observer Group of which Ghana’s former President, John Mahama was the Chair, of conspiracy to rig the elections in favour of Julius Maada Bio, one of the two candidates. But John Mahama has denies his involvement in any case of alleged conspiracy to rig the elections. He stated that “International Observers have no capacity to change the will of the people, in any election. I, John Dramani Mahama, have no interest in who governs the people of Sierra Leone” Read: ‘I have no interest in Sierra Leone election’- Mahama dismisses rigging claims Meanwhile, the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) has claimed that its leader Julius Maada Bio took about 54% of the votes, while Samura Kamara of the ruling All People’s Congress (APC) won about 46%. “We are confident that retired Brigadier Julius Maada Bio is the next president of Sierra Leone,” Jacob Saffa, the SLPP’s election management Chairman, told a news conference Monday in the Sierra Leonean capital, Freetown.

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By Kweku Antwi-Otoo||Ghana  ]]>