Sierra Leone Telegraph: 27 June 2023:
Julius Maada Bio has been sworn in as President of Sierra Leone for a second term by the Chief Justice, immediately after the National Electoral Commission declared Bio the winner with 56.17% of the votes, against the main opposition APC candidate – Samura Kamara scoring 41.16%.
The ECSL announcement comes after three days of political tension and serious violence in some parts of the country, especially in opposition strongholds where security forces shot and killed several people.
According to the ECSL, Julius Maada Bio won 1,566,932 of the total votes cast, against Samura’s 1,148,262.
There were 2,789,808 total votes cast across all polling stations in the country, with 10,883 invalid votes counted.
This is the second time Samura Kamara is losing presidential election to Julius Maada Bio. In 2018, Samura lost by 3 percentage points. Today, he has lost by a massive 15 percentage points.
As president Bio begins his second term in office, he now faces the huge challenge of governing a massively divided nation that is not at ease with itself.
Does president Bio have the temperament and skill to bring the nation together to heal, after an election that has created such huge divisions in the country across tribal and regional lines?
If the last five years are anything to go by, then the next five years will be just as chaotic, divisive and bloody, with no hope in sight of a better Sierra Leone, economically, socially, and politically.
But where does another five years of Maada Bio now leaves the main opposition APC party, after losing the presidential election by 15 percentage points?
The APC will need to take a look at itself in the mirror and ask whether it likes what it sees. In the last five years, APC has been dogged by infighting, lack of strong leadership, poor planning, and an endless court battle for the heart and soul of the party.
The APC party needs to go back to the drawing board and rebuild its support base across the regions, especially in the south and east of the country.
The ruling SLPP has shown how violently brutal it can be when faced with an opposition. Its use of state machinery, including the judiciary and security forces to muzzle and destroy any opposition is now on record for posterity. Since 2018, over one hundred people, have been killed by security forces under Bio’s watch. This trend is expected to continue.
So what does another five years of Julius Maada Bio mean for the people of Sierra Leone? More of the same, if not worse.
The economy is in serious decline; unemployment – especially youth unemployment is at record high; the Leone has lost over 60% of its value since 2018; inflation – especially food inflation is running at over 40%; foreign investors are shying away from Sierra Leone; and government borrowing is at a record high. The Bio-government will need to continue relying on foreign aid to keep the country going.
This is President Bio being sworn-in today for another five years in office: