Sierra Leone heads into run-off elections – as coalition government looks likely

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 13 March 2018:

On Tuesday, 27 March 2018, the people of Sierra Leone will do it all over again. They will be going out to vote in what was announced by the country’s Chief Electoral Commissioner – Mr Mohammed N’fa-Alie Conteh as a run-off election, to decide who will be the next president.

After seven long days of nail biting suspense, voters in the country have finally been informed by the Election Commission that following the counting and recounting of ballots across the country – including the nullification of votes in polling stations where evidence of electoral malpractice was found, none of the 15 candidates has won the required 55% to form a government.

The run-off is a two-horse race affair between the ruling APC candidate – Dr Samura Kamara who polled 42.7%, and the opposition SLPP candidate – Julius Maada Bio who received slightly better with 43.5%.

What the rest of the results show is the massive gulf between the two traditional parties – APC and SLPP, and the other fourteen parties, in terms of popularity.

But notwithstanding this harsh reality, both the ruling APC and the SLPP will now be appealing to the supporters of the other parties for their votes at the run-off.

This is highly encouraging news for many in Sierra Leone – including the Sierra Leone Telegraph, that have always been advocating for a government of national unity in Sierra Leone, to promote national cohesion and ensure that the best human resource available across all of the political parties, can be concertedly co-ordinated and utilised to form a government that is best capable of managing the affairs of the country.

The newcomer on the political landscape, Dr Kandeh Yumkella and his NGC party has done wonderfully well to come third with 174,031 votes – which is almost 7% of the total votes cast. Dr Yumkella is now expected along with Sam Sumana and his C4C party who polled 3.5% to form the backbone of any coalition block needed by either the APC or SLPP to now win the presidency and  form a coalition government.

With at least 13% of votes now needed by either APC or SLPP at the run-off, not even Dr Yumkella and Sam Sumana’s aggregate of 10% will be sufficient to take either the APC or the SLPP to State House.

They are going to need almost all the other opposition parties to lend their weight to their campaign for victory.

Never before has Sierra Leone’s election been so interesting, tense and yet full of so much promise of a better future, with not one single party commanding a majority support.

So what did the Chief Electoral Commissioner say today?

Speaking on national television this evening, this is what the Chief Electoral Commissioner said:

“After deliberations with political parties requesting recounts, the commission ordered recounts in 154 polling stations. Results from these polling stations are included in this result.

“The results from 221 polling stations were excluded, including where the votes cast exceeded the number of registered voters (including voters included on a supplementary list). Accordingly, pursuant to section 87 (2) of the Public Elections Act 2012, the results of those polling stations are declared null and void and are not included in this result.

“Following counting and tallying, the number of invalid votes cast at the presidential election on 7th March 2018, was 139,427. The number of valid votes is 2,537,122. “The number of valid votes cast for each candidate, and the percentage of the valid votes received is as follows:

“In exercise of the powers  conferred upon me, as Chief Electoral Commissioner/ Chairman and National Returning Officer of the National Electoral Commission by Sections 52(2) and 94(4) of the Public Elections Act 2012 and Section 42(3) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991, I Mohamed N’fah-Ali Conteh, do hereby declare that since none of the candidates of the parties for the presidential election received 55% of the valid votes cast, pursuant to section 43(2)(e) and (f) of the Constitution of Sierra Leone 1991, there will be a second election (run-off) exclusively between the All People’s Congress (APC) Presidential candidate Dr Samura Matthew Wilson Kamara and the Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) Presidential candidate Julius Maada Bio.

“Polling in this second election (run-off) between the two aforementioned candidates will be conducted nationwide on Tuesday 27th March 2018.”

Tonight, the Sierra Leone Telegraph has learnt that both Maada Bio and Samura Kamara’s senior advisers are already at work, making serious overtures to the opposition parties in what is going to be two weeks of vigorous horse trading.

It will not be impossible to see a few cross-carpeting and several allegations of brown envelopes (cash for votes) changing hands.

Will Dr Kandeh Yumkella and Sam Sumana be joining forces with Julius Maada Bio to form a coalition?

The Sierra Leone Telegraph understands that Bio may have to concede the vice presidency to Dr Yumkella in return for his support, and offer a senior ministerial job to Sam Sumana.

Equally, the other opposition parties will have to join such a coalition led by the SLPP, if Bio is to form a government.

If not, the ruling APC will remain in power for another five years, assuming they too can galvanise the support of Dr Yumkella and Sam Sumana, along with the other opposition parties .

But the Sierra Leone Telegraph is of the opinion that both Dr Yumkella and Sam Sumana will find it very difficult to join an APC led coalition, after the awful treatment meted out to both by the ruling APC.

Sam Sumana was sacked as the country’s vice president and humiliated by the ruling APC. He took the APC to the ECOWAS court and won his legal battle.

Dr. Yumkella was stripped of his US citizenship by the ruling APC, who also took him to the Supreme Court, so as to have him excluded from taking part in the elections.

Yumkella’s professional integrity and birthright were defiled by the ruling APC. The court case is yet to be concluded.

But the ruling APC have been quick to point out the poor treatment and violent attacks Yumkella was subjected to, at the hands of the Paopa supporters of Julius Maada Bio.  They say that Yumkella, who is also from the northern region – the political heartland of the APC, would be better off joining forces with the ruling APC, than to pitch tent with Julius Maada, whom they refer to as a southerner.

The ruling APC is now using their tribal card to the disappointment of many in the country. Tribalism must have no place in Sierra Leone’s politics. But will this work?

In the 2007 and in 2012 elections, APC won far more votes in the SLPP south and eastern heartland, than SLPP were able to gain  in the APC northern stronghold. Hence they lost those elections with a wide margin.

But today, the wind of change has blown the other direction. In the 2018 elections, the opposition SLPP have won far more votes at the first round in the ruling APC stronghold, than APC have been able to poll in the south and east of the country. This is why it will be very difficult for APC to play the ‘nasty’ tribal card successfully at the run-off.

Yumkella’s decision to either join forces with the ruling APC or the opposition SLPP – of which he was once a Grand Chief Patron  and an aspiring presidential candidate, must be based on what is good for the country, and his change agenda. After having spent the last two years accusing the ruling APC of serious corruption, ineptitude, poor governance and lack of direction, it is unlikely he will join the ruling APC to help them contest and win the run-off election.

There are interesting times ahead of the run-off, which  will take place on Tuesday, 27th March 2018. And ironically, the next day – 28th March, lawyers representing Dr Yumkella will be facing ruling APC lawyers at the Supreme Court, where Judges will hear arguments as to why the ruling APC party are saying that Dr Yumkella along with hundreds of thousands of Sierra Leoneans with dual citizenship, must not be allowed to contest elections in the land of their birth – Sierra Leone.


  1. Unity, Justice and Freedom is what Sierra Leone needed. Our national issues should be addressed properly. Mr Bio needs our great support now than ever. I believe to fight changes is changes itself, so my contribution is Dr. Yumkella and Chief Sam Sumana should give support Mr Bio for change to occur. “You fought for justice and Justice is what you got” God bless our motherland Sierra Leone.

  2. Remaining neutral is only what will benefit Kandeh and the NGC, if they want to stay as an alternative to the two corrupt parties.
    Joining any of the two will see the NGC melting like the PMDC. As for the C4C, of cause his sole aim is to get rid of the APC as a matter of revenge.

  3. All I can say is that APC should stop their tribal card campaign. If they believe what they have done in the past decade is enough, then let the nation pay them back come 27th march 2018. We need peace in our beloved country, Mama Salone.

  4. Congratulations Brigadier Maada Bio. The people of Sierra Leone are on the path of giving the APC government a long, slow,painful and tortured death just to avenge the punishment that they have been through this past decade. In the next two weeks, I believe that the APC government will show the world that they are actually a violent and corrupt institution and most of their leaders will likely face justice at the International Criminal Court.

  5. This is indeed an interesting development in our national politics and it presents an opportunity for Sierra Leoneans to depart from the uncivilized and gutter politics that have besieged our country in the past ten years. It is interesting to note that almost every presidential candidate in the just concluded election have a long list of crimes committed against them by this current APC administration led by Ernest Bai Koroma.

    But the brunt of the crime and atrocities was brought to bear on Sam Sumana of the opposition party C4C, by his harassment and unconstitutional firing as vice president in the past administration, and Kandeh Yumkella of the NGC, who was hounded and molested for his citizenship credentials and nearly disqualified from the election. Now, it appears that these two gentlemen will be the king-makers in the run off election that is slated to take place on March 27, 2018.

    Already the APC supporters and their diabolical spin doctors are at work, claiming that both Sam Sumana and Kandeh Yumkella are solidly behind the APC and therefore they are assured of victory. This is of course political posturing, but it would be a travesty and a slap in the face for the many supporters who decided to vote for these two parties for the expressed purpose of getting rid of the APC.

    Kandeh Yumkella and Sam Sumana, have yet to dignify this rubbish, given the fact that both have been campaigning on a message of change, hope and transformation. As both gentlemen have yet to make their positions clear, the vast majority of citizens of Sierra Leone will only hope that they use their new found influence to affect the change that our people so earnestly crave for our country, and that would not happen with the APC in power.

  6. “The Sierra Leone Telegraph understands that Bio may have to concede the vice presidency to Dr Yumkella in return for his support, and offer a senior ministerial job to Sam Sumana”-Sierra Leone Telegraph

    I am not certain if it is legally possible at this stage of the electoral process for Bio and the SLPP to concede the vice Presidency to Yumkella. What will happen to Dr. Juldeh Jalloh who has been nominated and accepted by the NEC, PPRC and Electorate?

    Bio did well across the country because of the support that Dr. Juldeh Jalloh brought to the tickets. What will happen to his support base if Bio is to make such suicidal mistake?

    Dr. Kandeh Yumkella already won a parliamentary seat. I think he should be in Parliament to help shape debates and laws while at the same time he prepares himself for 2023.

    • Thanks Mr. Jones. You hit the nail right on the head. Dr. Yumkella should not take any ministerial or VP post as a bargaining leverage, if offered by the SLPP. I suggest he stay put in parliament to effect the change Sa Lone needs. We need competent intellegensia in parliament who can deliberate on the affairs of state with common sense and valor. I strongly believe NGC will be the dominant party come 2023, just around the corner.

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