Wednesday 18 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/31/18)
Voting began Saturday in Sierra Leone in the final round of a delayed run-off presidential election after a campaign marked by verbal sparring, sporadic violence and a last-minute legal battle. A wafer-thin margin separated the two frontrunners after the first round on March 7, adding to tensions in the West African country where political loyalties are often divided along ethnic lines and traumatic memories of civil war run deep. Opposition challenger Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP) had a narrow edge over Samura Kamara of the ruling All Peoples' Congress (APC), in a ballot with a turnout of more than 80 percent. "So far this morning, everything is normal, it is...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Sierra Leone chooses a new president on Saturday following a delay caused by a ruling party-backed court case over alleged electoral fraud, spiking tensions following an already fractious campaign. The West African nation's 3.1 million voters will choose between the ruling All Peoples' Congress (APC) candidate Samura Kamara and opposition challenger Julius Maada Bio of the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP). Bio, a former junta leader, won by just 15,000 votes in the March 7 first round, but failed to attain the 55 percent of ballots needed to win outright, triggering a runoff. Turnout was over 80 percent.
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Julius Maada Bio, 53, a former coup-maker who once apologised for exactions carried out by his comrades, is taking a second stab at leading Sierra Leone as a civilian. The straight-talking retired brigadier, who briefly led a junta in 1996, is hoping to end a decade in power for the All Peoples' Congress (APC) with Saturday's runoff presidential election. A member of the Mende people who traditionally lend strong support to the opposition Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), Bio was...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
Veteran politician Samura Kamara, seen as a shrewd political operator, hopes to take up the mantle of outgoing president Ernest Bai Koroma as his hand-picked successor. An economist by training, the 66-year-old Kamara was foreign minister until last year when he stepped down to pursue the presidency under the flag of the ruling All Peoples' Congress (APC), an announcement that came as a surprise to many. A Catholic in a majority Muslim nation, Kamara is known for his ready smile...
(AFP (eng) 03/29/18)
The West African nation of Sierra Leone, among the world's poorest countries despite significant mineral wealth, has been scarred by a brutal civil war and the deadly Ebola virus. Here is some background as Freetown prepares to hold a delayed presidential runoff on Saturday to replace Ernest Bai Koroma, who is stepping down after two terms. - Brutal civil war - Founded by Britain in 1787 for freed slaves evacuated from the Caribbean, Sierra Leone was a British colony until...
(AFP (eng) 03/27/18)
Sierra Leone's electoral body announced on the eve of a presidential run-off on Monday that the vote would be delayed until Saturday after losing days of preparation due to a court order. The country's High Court had earlier lifted an injunction imposed on Saturday that halted the runoff until further notice, after considering a fraud complaint filed by a lawyer linked to the ruling All Peoples' Congress (APC). The National Electoral Commission (NEC) said more time was needed "due to...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Sierra Leone's High Court on Monday lifted an order that had halted the country's presidential runoff because of a complaint of electoral fraud backed by the ruling party. The order that the electoral commission should be "restrained" from conducting Tuesday's vote is no longer in force, the court in Freetown said. The High Court had issued an order on Saturday to halt preparations for the vote, following a complaint filed by a lawyer linked to the ruling All Peoples' Congress...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
Sierra Leone's opposition candidate Julius Maada Bio on Sunday accused outgoing leader Ernest Bai Koroma of attempting to derail Tuesday's presidential run-off through the courts to keep his party in power. The High Court on Saturday ordered the National Electoral Commission (NEC) to halt preparations for the vote until an election fraud complaint lodged by a lawyer linked to the ruling party is resolved. Bio, who won the March 7 first round by a slim margin for the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), is due to run against Koroma's hand-picked successor, Samura Kamara, who will represent the ruling All Peoples' Congress (APC). "The motivation behind the APC injunction is very clear: they do not want a runoff presidential...
(AFP (eng) 03/26/18)
For a musician used to receiving personal insults from the president and anonymous death threats with the release of every new single, Emmerson Bockarie laughs a lot. The Sierra Leonean popstar, a thorn in the side of successive governments over his 15-year career, chuckles as he recalls the countless times politicians have sought to dampen his appeal, and the countless times they have failed. "Politicians make mentions of my music on TV and radio. That means they hear the songs...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
Sierra Leone's police on Thursday dismissed accusations by the election commission that officers were disrupting its activities ahead of a March 27 presidential run-off, bringing the force's impartiality into question. Tensions are high ahead of the vote with a campaign marked by violent attacks and intimidation against politicians and supporters, along with an increase in inflammatory tribal rhetoric. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) said in a statement late Wednesday the police had "unwarrantedly entered NEC premises, unannounced and at random,...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
A key third party in Sierra Leone announced Wednesday it would not ask supporters to back either contender in a March 27 presidential run-off, after police warned violence has plagued campaigning. With the margin between the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples' Party (SLPP) and ruling All Peoples' Congress (APC) on a knife-edge, tensions are high in the West African nation. The National Grand Coalition (NGC), which took 6.9 percent of votes in the March 7 first round with an issues-focused platform,...
(AFP (eng) 03/21/18)
Forty-four African countries have signed an agreement establishing a free trade area seen as vital to the continent's economic development, the head of the African Union said Wednesday. "The agreement establishing the CFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area) was signed by 44 countries," said Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the AU commission. The creation of a free trade area -- billed as the world's largest -- comes after two years of negotiations, and is one of the AU's flagship projects...
(AFP (eng) 03/19/18)
Sierra Leone's electoral commission sounded the alarm on Saturday over a wave of violence between rival groups ahead of a run-off presidential vote later this month. Opposition leader Julius Maada Bio, from the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), took 43.3 percent of votes in the first round on March 7, while Samura Kamara of the incumbent All Peoples Congress (APC) took 42.7 percent. Violence was reported between SLPP and APC supporters in the southern city of Bo, as well as...
(AFP (eng) 03/15/18)
Two upstart Sierra Leone political parties said Wednesday they had filed complaints over this month's elections after failing to make the cut for the second round of the presidential ballot. The National Grand Coalition (NGC) took 6.9 percent of votes in the March 7 elections to the presidency while the Coalition for Change (C4C) garnered 3.5 percent. The results left them far behind the two frontrunners, who go into a deciding round on March 27. The NGC -- whose rise...
(AFP (eng) 03/14/18)
Sierra Leone will hold a run-off vote for president on March 27, the election commission said Tuesday, after the country's main opposition finished slightly ahead of the ruling party in the first round of voting. Opposition leader Julius Maada Bio, from the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), took 43.3 percent of votes in the March 7 election, while Samura Kamara of the incumbent All Peoples Congress (APC) took 42.7 percent, the commission said. The threshold to win in the first...
(AFP (eng) 03/14/18)
Sierra Leone will hold a run-off vote for president on March 27, the election commission said Tuesday, after the country's main opposition finished slightly ahead of the ruling party in the first round of voting. Opposition leader Julius Maada Bio, from the Sierra Leone People's Party (SLPP), took 43.3 percent of votes in the March 7 election, while Samura Kamara of the incumbent All Peoples Congress (APC) took 42.7 percent, the commission said. Turnout appeared to be around 85 percent...
(AFP (eng) 03/14/18)
Sierra Leone elects a new president in a March 27 run-off to replace Ernest Bai Koroma, who is stepping down after two terms. Here are the two men vying to replace him: Samura Kamara: All Peoples Congress (APC) Kamara, a career politician and economist by training, is outgoing president Ernest Bai Koroma's hand-picked successor. He served as the country's foreign minister until last year when he stepped down to pursue his bid for the presidency under the flag of the...
(AFP (eng) 03/14/18)
The EU warned African and other countries on Wednesday that their citizens will find it harder to get visas to Europe if they refuse to readmit economic migrants under the bloc's efforts to curb migration. Brussels has been seeking greater cooperation from such countries to take back irregular migrants since Europe was hit in 2015 with its worst migration crisis since World War II. "I cannot understand how a country can refuse to take back its nationals" when they have...
(AFP (eng) 03/12/18)
The opposition challenger in Sierra Leone's presidential election edged ahead of the ruling party candidate by fewer than 15,000 votes, according to new partial results released on Sunday. Julius Maada Bio has garnered 43.4 percent of the vote to 42.6 percent for Samura Kamara with 75 percent of polling stations in each province reporting, the National Election Commission (NEC) announced. The National Grand Coalition headed by former UN diplomat Kandeh Yumkella, which is hoping to inflict damage on the two-party...
(AFP (eng) 03/10/18)
Sierra Leone's two main parties traded verbal blows on Friday, with the opposition accusing the government of planning to announce an unconfirmed victory for its candidate in presidential elections. The West African country held presidential, parliamentary and local council elections on Wednesday, which passed off largely peacefully until an opposition leader's residence was raided. The National Election Commission (NEC) has asked for patience as it counts the ballots, saying it will prioritise accuracy over speed. It said on Friday it...

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