Sierra Leonean Leader and head of the All Peoples Congress(APC) ruling party, Ernest Bai Koroma is set to grab another five year tenure as the country reaffirmed its genuine democratic arrival, going back to the polls on Saturday November 17 this year in a general election.
This year’s elections will be the third since Sierra Leone emerged from a civil war, which ended in 2002
This year’s election will solidify Sierra Leone’s seal for democratic rule, telling the World that it has joined the league of matured democratic nations.
Sierra Leone came off tall, after a long fought war which tore the nation apart for more than ten years and has experimented successfully on democracy with Koroma winning in a democratic election in 2007.
Candidates from eight political parties are running against him and only recently, the United Democratic Movement’s candidate pulled out of the race to boost support for Koroma.
However, remaining a thorn in the leader’s flesh is Julius Madda Bio. He remains the main opposition, representing the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP).He led a military coup that won widespread support in 1996. There are no women contesting the presidency in the country of 2.5-million voters,but candidate, SLPP’s Kadi Sesay,will run for the post of vice presidency under Bio.
If elected, Bio says he will cut rising food prices, invest in the agriculture sector, and undertake a review of Sierra Leone’s mining industry. Several international mining companies have sites in the West African country, which has reserves of gold, diamonds, bauxite and iron ore.
Bio is expected to win the youth vote, while Koroma – whose All People’s Congress (APC) party has its roots in the northern Limba ethnic group – is likely to retain a large body of support. He is expected to win having built the confidence of the majority of union students across the nation
Koroma however has been down to earth about his corruption revolution crusade. In a national appeal on international media, he claimed to work more on eliminating corruption, saying Sierra Leone in her determination has put together the best corruption fighting structure in African continent.
He however has assured to transform infrastructural provisions in the country to set the pace for a a set goal of taking Sierra Leone to the promise land of dreamed great nation.
In a joint statement on the presidential and parliamentary elections, the US and UK governments acknowledged Koroma feat as a good leader who has made tremendous democratic and economic gains in his five year rule, urging for a free, fair and peaceful elections to consolidate the strides already made
The President spoke passionately about the need to build on a laid foundation promising
About 15 000 security personnel will be on duty throughout the country on voting day, and vehicle movements will be severely restricted in the capital Freetown in an effort to secure peace.
Election observers report that the campaign period has taken place without serious incident so far, although 10 people were injured in the north of the country at the end of October, when campaigners clashed with police.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today strongly encouraged Sierra Leoneans to ensure that national elections on Saturday are carried out peacefully to build on the progress made since the end of the country’s civil war ended a decade ago.
“The Secretary-General strongly encourages Sierra Leoneans to ensure that the same peaceful spirit that has characterized the electoral process thus far prevails on election day, as well as during the vote counting and announcement of the results,” said a statementissued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.
“Peaceful elections resulting in a credible outcome are critical for consolidating Sierra Leone’s hard-won peace and for demonstrating that the tremendous progress the country has made since the end of the hostilities one decade ago is irreversible,” the statement added.
Mr. Ban also paid tribute to the registered political parties, national institutions and other national stakeholders for their cooperation following the signing of the 18 May 2012 Declaration in which they committed themselves to hold peaceful, free and fair elections.