Alan Luke: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 16 August 2023
US Ambassador to Sierra Leone – David Reimer has today made it clear to the Bio-led government of Sierra Leone that the United States government has not and does not accept the results of the June 24 presidential and general elections announced by the country’s chief electoral commissioner.
Speaking on Radio 98.1 in Freetown about the credibility of the 24th June 2023 election results and the implications for US government funded development programmes in Sierra Leone, including the MCC Compact, Reimer confirmed that US government funding is dependent on democratic good governance, and free and fair elections.
Commenting on President Bio’s proposed committee headed by Sierra Leone’s vice president Juldeh Jalloh to investigate the elections process, Mr Reimer unequivocally said that it is just not possible for someone who participated in the 2023 elections to lead the election review.
He said that the US would like to see a person outside of Sierra Leone who is independent of APC and SLPP to lead the review.
He went further to emphasise the need to ensure that anyone leading the review must not have family or ethnic ties with any of the political parties in the country.
David Reimer also made it clear that the results of the June 24th elections is not credible, and that whilst Julius Maada Bio has been declared the president, the US has not congratulated him. This, he said, is the position of the US government, irrespective of his replacement as US Ambassador to Sierra Leone.
Reimer calls for political dialogue to end the crisis that has engulfed Sierra Leone and repeated his appeal to the main opposition APC not to boycott governance.
However, APC representatives must continue to resist calls to participate in governance, until an independent review mechanism has been established, with clear terms of reference that must include:
1) a guaranteed commitment to re-run of the elections, if the election review finds flaws in the way in which ECSL conducted the elections.
2) a guarantee that the entire ECSL leadership will be replaced and that new commissioners are appointed by a group, independent of the Executive, and
3) new elections will be conducted by an external body, preferably the EU or AU. ECOWAS is completely unfit for purpose.
Take a listen to the US Ambassador’s interview: